Sri Lanka trims fat off ‘official’ World Cup delegation

March 25, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president has ordered a sharp cut in the size of a delegation headed for the final round of the cricket World Cup in the Caribbean because of the cost involved, an official said Sunday. The order by Mahinda Rajapakse saw the number of people sponsored to travel for the final round by Sri Lanka Cricket, the island’s governing body for the sport, trimmed to three from 18, an official who did not want to be named said.

“This (presidential order) would mean that Sri Lanka Cricket will not be asked to pay for anyone’s pleasure trips,” the official added.

Cricket authorities had come under fire for selecting 18 people for the delegation that would have outnumbered the national team and would have been the biggest official entourage at the World Cup.

The state-run Daily News said Sri Lanka Cricket estimated it would cost 23 million rupees (212,000 dollars) to send the jumbo official delegation to the final matches.

Sri Lanka Cricket officials had said that more people were interested in making the trip following the national team’s good showing in the tournament. Sri Lanka, one of the pre-tournament favorites, have already won their place in the super-8 stage of the competit