Three of Sri Lanka’s international venues, including the newly built stadiums in Pallekele and Hambantota, have been handed over to the military indefinitely because Sri Lanka Cricket is unable to afford the maintenance costs.
The R Premadasa stadium in Colombo – redeveloped for the World Cup earlier this year – is being taken by the air force. The navy has taken over the Pallekele Stadium, near Kandy, while the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota has gone to the army.
“We are doing this because we are not in a position to afford the maintenance costs,” Brian Thomas, Sri Lanka Cricket’s media manager, said. “The military is responsible for the grounds from this month.”
The grounds in Hambantota and Pallekele, built at a combined cost of nearly US$ 11.79m, were finished just before the World Cup, which Sri Lanka co-hosted with India and Bangladesh. The R Premadasa Stadium was renovated at a cost of nearly US$8m. The country hosted 12 matches in the tournament.
The World Cup had left Sri Lanka Cricket in debt to the tune of $23 million thanks to cost overruns and heavy expenses incurred in building the stadiums, and the board had to ask for a grant from the Sri Lanka government. The board has not paid some of its players since the tournament.