Sri Lanka singer says sorry after ban

Colombo, Feb 24 (AFP) A Sri Lankan singer todayapologised after his much-hyped World Cup song was banned byPresident Mahinda Rajapakse who argued that the music videowas offensive to other competing nations.

Singer Lahiru Perera expressed "deep regret andapologies" after the president asked state-run radio andtelevision not to play the song which, among other things,contained threats against defending champions Australia.

"I would like to reiterate that I did not intenddisrespect for any country playing in the World Cup, but onlymeant to produce a song that will be enjoyed as a cheer songby all Sri Lankans," he said in a statement.

Privately-run radio and television also took the videooff the air on their own although the song was officiallylaunched last month in the presence of Sri Lankan skipperKumar Sangakkara.

Local media reports said that the launch of the video asthe official cheer song of the national team had cost abouthalf a million dollars.

However, the president was appalled after he heard theSinhalese and Tamil mixed song on Sunday while watching SriLanka beat Canada by 210 runs at the new stadium in thesouthern district of Hambantota.

"The president was appalled that the song was allowed inthe first place," an official at President''s office told AFPon Wednesday.

"He felt the song was in poor taste. What he wants is asong to inspire the team and fans and not insult othernations."

The singer said his cricket song was in line with hisprevious work which he described as "unconventional andnovel."

Sri Lanka, who are co-hosting the World Cup withBangladesh and India, has already run into trouble with fansafter banning music and placards at match venues.

Following intense criticism, police have relaxed bans onplacards, posters and banners. (AFP) PDS

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