Thursday, 24 October 2013

Corporatization of Sports: Observations from a Critical Keynote

The 2nd session of Turf 2013@FICCI catered specifically to the theme of the event. Corporatization of Sports is the need of the hour and the subject was well discussed and dissected by the distinguished Panel for the session. For greater clarity, it is good to know who was on board on this panel: -

Moderator – Mr. Boria Mazumdar, Sports expert and Adjunct Professor, Monash University

Keynote Speaker – Mr. P.K. Deb, Former Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports

Mr. Hakim S Habibulla, Olympian and co-founder of Winning Matters
Mr. Desh Gaurav Sekhri, Sports Attorney, J. Sagar Associates
Mr. Malav Shroff, Olympian and President, Asian Sailing Federation
Mr. Paul Sidhu, MD, FSMC Associates, UK

Present State
It all begins at home. The first exposure to sports for any child is when he gets to play in the park or ground near his home. The unfortunate reality right now is that these playing spaces are constantly getting reduced by housing development and also in the name of maintaining greenery in your colony’s park. But hey, the kids are to be blamed for sitting on their PCs and PS3s!
80% of the sports persons in India come from a rural background, but even from that percentage not even 1% has been tapped. The blame can be attached to factors like medieval practices by the head Sporting bodies, inferior quality of food supplements, below par infrastructure, ambiguous governing directives as well as lack of structure a grass root levels.
Even for the existing lot of athletes, the hurdles are one too many. There is a lack of artificial turfs, sufficient fitness training and rehabilitation personnel and inferior sports science practices just to name a few. In addition, the current Sports Bill which is in a draft stage right now lacks clarity meaning the possibility of improvement is uncertain. 

Steps that can be implemented
  • Need to prioritize investment on sports other than cricket so that the bench strength can be built up. That increases the chances of success.
  • Governance should be assigned to sports Federations to have better control of operations 
  • Private corporate companies need to start roping in
  • Laws of the sport need to be re-written to cater to excellence and not satisfy the whims of governance
  • Federation personnel should be qualified, motivated and well-versed with the sport they are managing
  • Individuals or corporations who try to stall the functioning of sports federations using legal means should be strictly dealt with

On a concluding note
The suggestions mentioned are not going to bring about a revolution and change the scenery of improvement and corporate investment in sports, but it most certainly can be a small step in the right direction to instigate a gradual change to get things going the way they ideally should. 

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