Sri Lanka questions scrapping of Colombo’s ‘unsafe’ rugby venue

COLOMBO, Oct 27, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan rugby authorities Friday said they were disappointed after Colombo was scrapped as a venue for next year’s World Cup qualifiers, due to security concerns.

The IRB decision had come in spite of assurances from the Sri Lankan foreign and defence ministries to all participating nations on the safety of playing in Colombo, Fernando added.

He said the local union had already incurred large expenses on infrastructure and accommodation and its council would meet in an emergency session Saturday.

“Colombo is as safe as any city in the world,” said Dilroy Fernando, chief executive of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU).

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He said the International Rugby Union’s (IRB) decision to change the venue for the Asian round event was based on advise from a British security consultancy firm which had not even visited the city for assessment.

“They have merely used travel advisories of countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia posted on websites when taking the decision”, Fernando told AFP.