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The Price to Play

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Ask any Sri Lankan what the best-known, most-indulged-in sport in the country is and you can probably guess the answer you will get: cricket.

Other sports are, however, played in the country – football, hockey and basketball to name some. In order to get a better idea of how much is done to develop each of these sports in our nation, a Right to Information application was submitted to the Department of Sports Development – Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs.

The Department was asked about government expenditure on each of the below sports in Sri Lanka in the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019:

  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Basketball

It should be noted that according to the reply from the Department of Sports Development, the allocation/expenditure in each and every one of the five above-mentioned years on each of these sports was not the same. For example, financial provisions of Rupees 60,000/- in 2015, 70,000/- in 2016 and 830,000/- in 2018 were set aside for the Sri Lanka Softball Cricket Association. There were no such provisions for this Association in the years 2017 and 2019. The Sri Lanka Hockey Federation on the other hand had a financial provision of Rs. 574,515.23/- in 2017 and none in the other four years. Also, during the majority of the aforementioned years, the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation had one or more millions set aside for its functioning.

*In order to view the complete summary of this information, please view the table provided by the Department of Sports Development in the image accompanying this article.

In addition to the above, the RTI application also inquired about the allocated budget for each of these sports for the current year (2020) and the next year (2021). To this question, the Department answered that a total sum of Rs. 13,397,131.62/- has been allocated for all sports federations in 2020 and that it had not been divided for each sports event so far. As for the allocation for 2021, the Department of Sports Development stated that it cannot be projected until this provision is granted.

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