Sunday, June 24, 2007

Indian corporates "should be setting up academies"

Indian corporations are reportedly quietly meeting with All India Football Federation officials to discuss "the probability of taking over a few existing football clubs or to start new clubs of their own." According to Aabhas Sharm in the Business Standard, Mumbai-based promoter Osian’s taking over New Delhi Heroes FC could be the start of a healthy new trend. However, he suggested, the top priority for corporates, should be setting up academies for youngsters. "Most of the players actually doing well in the domestic league are foreign rejects from countries like Nigeria and Brazil. While they may improve the domestic game, to improve internationally, homegrown talent needs to be nurtured."

Nirvan Shah, head of Mumbai-based Premier India Football Academy, said that while there have been similar talking points doing the rounds, it ultimately boils down to how you take care of upcoming talent. “Corporate support is just the starting point for the development of the game and is extremely important but it should not be restricted to sponsorships only,” he told the Business Standard.

Dharm also wrote of the development that has to take place on a large scale. "For instance, the infrastructure is barely there. The grounds are in a terrible condition and spectators aren’t encouraged to come and watch. In addition to that, there is a need to spread the game across the country rather than have a few clubs in select regions of the country." Neville Tuli, CEO, Osian’s, agreed. “But the process will take time and a lot of nitty-gritties need to be taken care of,” he said.

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