Sri Lankan cricket tour of England under fire

Shamindra Ferdinando, from the Island, 2 May 2011

The UK-based LTTE rump is planning to disrupt the Sri Lankan cricket team’s forthcoming tour of England, The Island learns. A senior government official told ‘The Island’ that the LTTE activists had organised a series of protests, targeting the Sri Lankan team and in a bid to pressure the England Cricket Board to call off the tour. Responding to a query, the official said that it would be the responsibility of the UK authorities to ensure the safety and security of the visiting cricket team.

 Tamils protest at Kennington Oval, 11 June 1975 — for the text of their broadsheet and a review of this moment,see ‘Cricket as Protest Arena,” in Roberts, Incusions and excursions in and around Sri Lankan Cricket, Colombo, 2011, distributedvia

The official said that the organisers had launched a campaign to bring a large group of Eelam activists on May 14 morning to the Oxbridge Cricket Ground, where Tillekeratne Dilshan’s team would be playing their first match. According to him, the protesters would try to disrupt the match, unless the British took tangible action to keep them at bay. The first Test match begins on May 26 at Sophia Gardens Cardiff. The tour includes three Tests, one T- 20 international and five ODIs. According to a widely circulated message among the eelamists, the LTTE rump says the UK cut all bilateral relations with Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe in 2008 due to large scale human rights violations in that country. South Africa, too, had been subject to ‘sports sanctions’ not only by the British, but FIFA and IOC as well, the eelamists say, urging the British to slap sanctions on Sri Lanka.

The LTTE rump has declared that a team which represented “war criminals and a genocidal state,” should not be welcomed in the UK. UK-based Ram Sivalingham, Deputy Prime Minister of the so-called Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) called for a meet at Scarborough Civic Centre, conference Room B, on May Day, to discuss ways and means of pressuring the UNSG to appoint an independent international war crimes investigation in spite of strong protests by the GoSL. Sources said that the TGTE was planning a series of events beginning May 12 to 18 to mark the final week of eelam war IV. The campaign would culminate with the handing over of a petition to the UNSG at his New York headquarters on May 18, demanding a war crimes probe. Sources said that the LTTE rump was planning to bring together a large group of eelam activists at the UN headquarters on May 18. TGTE launched the signature campaign on Apr. 29 at Markham City Council Chambers. The British High Commission couldn’t be contacted for comments as it was closed from Apr. 29 to May 2. External Affairs Ministry sources told ‘The Island’ that tough action had to be taken by the British to prevent troublemakers from disrupting the cricket tour. The British government allowed the LTTE activists to force President Mahinda Rajapaksa to cancel his scheduled speech at Oxford last December

Leave a comment

Filed under confrontations on field, cricket and life, politics and cricket, Tamil demonstrations

Leave a Reply