COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s sports minister has ordered an investigation into sex bribe claims involving the national women’s cricket team, an official said Wednesday.
Mahindananda Aluthgamage asked an independent panel to investigate local media allegations that unidentified players were dropped from the team for refusing to have sex with sports officials, his spokesman said.
“The minister wants to clear the air by getting this report investigated,” spokesman Harsha Abeykoon told AFP.
“We want to get to the bottom of it because this is bad for the image of the game and the country.”
The investigation would be conducted “even though no names have been mentioned in the report and there is no complaint to us or the police”, he said.
A three-member panel headed by a retired woman judge was likely to be named in coming days after their agreement to serve as investigators was secured, Abeykoon said.
The privately-run Sinhalese-language Divaina newspaper, quoting sources, had reported last month that unidentified selection and team officials sought sexual favours from players in return for securing them a place in the side.
Sri Lanka Cricket, the sport’s governing body in the cricket-mad island, said it would conduct its own internal investigation but stressed that neither players or officials had complained of wrongdoing.
“The players had a contractual obligation to speak to us first if there was any issue,” its chief executive Ashley de Silva told AFP.
“No one has done that, but we are getting an outside lawyer to go into the newspaper report,” he said, adding that the findings would be shared with the independent panel.