Sri Lanka’s football captain Sujan Perera has urged the authorities to promptly resolve the issues surrounding the Sri Lanka Football Federation (SLFF), as it was detrimental to the players.
In a post on Facebook, Sujan Perera pointed out that 2023 was a crucial year for Sri Lankan football players, as the 2023 SAFF Championship and the Football World Cup Playoffs are all scheduled for this year.
Sujan Perera revealed that the football team will not receive any matches if the team has not played for a period of 4 years.
“We players can only pray but the people who have power should work on this as soon as possible. Please help us play again,” he appealed via his message.
Sri Lanka’s football captain also blamed the officials of the football administration for the issues that have cropped up resulting in an international ban being imposed on Sri Lanka Football Federation.
According to the Sunday Observer, Sujan Perera made an appeal to all stakeholders in the sport from administrators, media, sports authorities and even the highest in the country to rally together as one nation to work earnestly towards lifting the FIFA suspension.
“If we can’t play for the national team because of this ban, it is a big loss for the country and fans who love the sport. This is a problem caused by administrators past and present but it is the players who are suffering. People come to see football, not administrators. All parties responsible for this situation should join hands leaving aside petty differences and selfish motives to resolve this issue,” said Sujan commenting on the issues surrounding football in Sri Lanka.
Sujan Perera also revealed that the livelihoods of several players, coaches, and other staff in the sport have been severely affected as a result of the FIFA ban.
“I can survive but there are others who play football with a passion with hardly any incentives. Playing football full-time means it is our job. If we can’t represent the national team, it is a big loss for players and the country. On top of that the Sports Ministry’s suspension of FSL in September saw allowances due for players during national pool training being stopped. We are still fighting to get arrears of Rs 160,000 due to players. The FSL staff got paid but not the players,” said the 30-year-old, who has been playing as a professional in the Maldives since 2015 for the Eagles and TC teams.
Football Sri Lanka (FSL) was sanctioned by the international governing body for football, FIFA, on January 21 and therefore ineligible to participate in international competition. FIFA has stated that the suspension might be lifted any time before the FIFA Congress which will take place on March 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.