Champions Trophy: ICC apologises for playing Hindi song instead of SL anthem

Jun 10, 2013, 18:47 IST | Agencies

ICC apologises to SLC for playing Hindi song instead of national anthem during Champions Trophy opening ceremony after Sri Lankan monks protest against blunder.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sent a letter of apology to Sri Lanka for the country's cricket team being greeted by a Hindi song at the ICC Champions Trophy opening ceremony on June 6 while all other teams were represented by their own national anthems.

The faux pas had sparked protests in the Sri Lankan capital on Monday.

A group of Buddhist monks who are members of the Sinhalese hardline organisation, Ravana Balaya (Ravana Force), handed over a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket demanding that the ICC apologise to Sri Lanka.

"No official protests were lodged by the puppet officials of Sri Lanka Cricket even though they were present at the event," the letter said. It was signed by the group's convener, Iththakande Saddhatissa.

"This is a betrayal of the nation. The SLC must explain why a Hindi song was played in place of our national anthem," Saddhatissa of Ravana Balaya said.

Acting CEO of SLC, Ashley de Silva told the monks that the ICC had already extended an apology to Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka Cricket also released a statement insisting that the ICC has apologised for the incident and would complain to the event management company that organised the opening ceremony in London.

"With reference to the Hindi song which was played while the Sri Lankan national flag was paraded onto the field, at the opening ceremony of the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy in England. As concerns raised by the Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket Nishantha Ranatunga to the ICC regarding the above matter, the ICC Tournament Director Chris Tetley has written to Sri Lanka Cricket regretting the incident," said the statement.

Tetley stated that the ICC will take this matter for discussion with the event management company who were entrusted to handle the opening ceremony.

The same Ravana Balaya had earlier warned IPL-bound Sri Lankan players that they would be subjected to rotten eggs at the Colombo airport following their return from India. 

They were angered by the players' participation at IPL 6 despite a ban imposed on Sri Lankan players' participation in Chennai by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa.  

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