The Sri Lankan players have not been paid since last March. -Photo by AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's sports minister has ordered the state-run Bank of Ceylon to settle the wages of national cricketers who have not been paid for over a year, a statement said on Friday.

After several rounds of discussions between minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, the bank and the cricket board, the Bank of Ceylon has agreed to release 600 million rupees ($5 million) to pay the dues.

“Minister Aluthgamage also instructed the officials of Sri Lanka Cricket not to overlook contract payments in the future,” the statement said.

Sri Lanka's cricket board has not paid its players as the governing body struggles with debts of $69 million after building two new venues and revamping a third ground for the World Cup.

Since losing the 2011 World Cup final to India, Sri Lanka have lost Test and one-day series against England, Australia, Pakistan and South Africa.

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