ISMF 2009: Indian sports federations, better pull up your socks, say experts

What is BCCI doing that other India sports federations are not doing? Is it fair to blame cricket for the lack of interest in other sports? Why have we not been able to replicate the IPL success in other sports? These and other such pertinent questions were asked and answers sought at the session titled ‘Sports Federations – Is reinvention the way forward’ at the India Sports Marketing Forum (ISMF) 2009, held in Delhi on October 30.

e4m by Nitin Pandey
Updated: Nov 2, 2009 7:48 AM
ISMF 2009: Indian sports federations, better pull up your socks, say experts

What is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doing that other India sports federations are not doing? Is it fair to blame cricket for the lack of interest in other sports? Why have we not been able to replicate the IPL success in other sports? These and other such pertinent questions were asked and answers sought at the session titled ‘Sports Federations – Is reinvention the way forward’.

Sports federations came in for some sharp criticism from the panelists for their failure to upgrade and keep up with the times, as well as promoting other sports. The panel at the ISMF 2009, held in Delhi on October 30, comprised Anil Srivatsa, CEO, Kings XI; Mario Rodrigues, All Sports Magazine; Novy Kapadia, sports commentator; and Sunil Narula, Sportzpower. Avinash Singh, a sports enthusiast, moderated the session.

Avinash Singh, sports enthusiast (Moderator):

“Faces whom we saw 30 years back in the federations, they are still with them. Can we reinvent those faces? We have not been able to market the product called ‘Commonwealth Games’ till now. People from marketing, who are putting in their money, should stand up and suggest how to build non-cricket sports in India. We need to find out what BCCI has done that other federations could not do.”

Anil Srivatsa, CEO, Kings XI:

“There is a difference between a national game and a popular game. If we are not winning the games, then nothing is going to work out. The Indian Sports Federations need to wake up and take a long hard look around at what’s going on. Soccer is watched in India with much enthusiasm, the only difference is that we don’t watch Indian football. If the federations are not doing anything, then the government should stop funding them. We should promote sports from the ground level. We need to involve parents also in sports.”

Mario Rodrigues, All Sports Magazine:

“We cannot just blame politicians. Politicians are a part of sports federations all over the world. It’s not a case just in India. Accountability of federations is the main point. We need dramatic investment in our infrastructure.”

Novy Kapadia, sports commentator:

“BCCI has a rule that no president can get two terms. However, our federations have repeated faces and are used to government handouts. We should not blame cricket for the lack of interest in other sports; cricket has been able to carve out its success on its own. Our federations, on the other hand, are inactive. They are still living with this thinking that the government will fund them. There is no clear information from the federations about the schedule of sports events. How will people know about them, Somewhere we media people are also to blame for the less coverage given to non-cricketing events.”

Sunil Narula, Sportzpower:

“BCCI is perhaps a very mismanaged body. But because the Indian cricket team is winning matches, BCCI is successful. India is not winning enough hockey matches and tournaments, hence nobody wants to be associated with the loser. IPL and ICL are the most professional bodies. Indian Sports Federations need to emulate them and bring in more corporates and accountable people into the federations. The federations need to market other sports as well.”

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