Bangalore: Sri Lanka's cricketers are set to receive their outstanding salaries by the end of February after a Sri Lankan bank agreed to release 600 million rupees (approx US$5.07 million) to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to meet this commitment, the country's sports ministry has said.
The state-owned Bank of Ceylon agreed to provide the funds following discussions between its officials and the Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. The minister subsequently instructed SLC "to pay the pending salaries up to the month of February to its contracted cricketers by February 28, 2012," according to a statement from the ministry. The minister also stated that payments from March 2012 onwards would be paid on time.
The players have been owed more than half their dues since the 2011 World Cup. Two months ago the ICC paid 42.36% of the fees due to the players from the World Cup to September 30, 2011. The payment of US$2 million was made directly into the players' bank accounts, instead of routing it through Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), on December 16.
In addition, the statement said that Aluthgamage had, in writing, "instructed the officials of SLC not to overlook contract payments in the future and Sri Lanka Cricket should take the full responsibility to ensure that the player payments are made on time in the future."
The Ministry had previously told the players that that they would be fully paid by January. The team is currently involved in a tri-series in Australia that also features India.
SLC ran into financial problems after running up debts of close to $70 million to finance the building of two international stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and to renovate the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, for the World Cup. All three stadiums have since been handed over to the military because the board was struggling to maintain them.