Sounding yet another alarm to an already drooping interest in football from large corporations owning football clubs, big time Indian and multinational sponsors and Indian television channels, Shrinivas Dempo, chairman, Dempo Sports Club elucidated that if authorities and government do not rethink their focus strategies on the sport of football, its current status and future opportunities in the country, they too would have to close down.
Only recently Mahindra United Club decided to disband their team as the philanthropic interest in football seemed to be burning holes in their budget coffers, investing in an Indian football club today is more an act of philanthropy, as no returns are expected from an average expenditure of Rs 6-8 crore per year.
“We love football and want to do so much for it not only in Goa but across the country and like the Dempo’s other corporate entities owning football clubs too are in for the same reason, but it can only go up to a break point, beyond which if we are not getting that kind of assistance for the sporting authorities concerned then it is only fair for us to find alternate sources for our corporate social responsibility based activities.”
Many in the business conclude that the AIFF’s inability to professionalise the league set-up in the country is the main cause of concern. And to make it worse, the federation does little to maintain the available infrastructure. “We do not have the kind of infrastructure in the country that is required to get our players to prepare to compete at international levels,” expressed Dempo.
Voicing an opinion, on the other hand Sports Management companies such as Procam International feel that the publicity that the companies get by involving them with the brand is almost minimal as no one comes to see the matches in stadiums and same is the scenario with the idiot box.
Experts believe that Indian football needs visibility in the coming time both on and off the field and high level of professionalism can only improve things for the sport in the country.
However while the country continues to go cricket crazy, football will have to continue to find its way into the interest of the authorities concerned in India as many more football clubs will be disbanded in the months to come.