Sri Lanka left with $23 mln debt by World Cup

April 11, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka Cricket said Monday it is saddled with a $23-million-dollar debt after cost overruns and hefty bills incurred building stadiums for the recent World Cup. “We spent a lot of money to host the World Cup, to build two stadiums and rebuild one stadium. The World Cup left us a 2.5 billion rupee ($22.6 million) deficit,” Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told reporters.

Sri Lanka, which lost the final to India by six wickets, hosted 12 matches during the World Cup, with others held in India and Bangladesh.

The island built two new grounds in the southern town of Hambantota and the central town of Pallekele, while nearly $8 million was spent to renovate the Colombo-based R. Premadasa stadium.

“We spent about five billion rupees ($45.3 million dollars) to build the three World Cup venues,” Aluthgamage said.

The minister said the governing body was forced to pledge the newly built stadiums, along with income from upcoming tours, as collateral to raise funds to pay for the lavish tournament that ended on April 2.

“We are not in a serious cash crisis,” Aluthgamage said. “Building new stadiums costs a lot of money. You must loo