CII suggests giving priority status to sports

New Delhi, Feb.25: The proposed National Sports Development Bill 2013 is aimed at transforming the sports eco-system in the country by enlisting the support from various stakeholders.

The government has already initiated interface with the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in this regard to bring them on board and to take their inputs while formulating the bill.

The view was conveyed by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Secretary Ajit M Sharan, Secretary while addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Conference on Business of Sports, held today. Importantly, the function also felicitated sports persons from various disciplines.

Responding to a suggestion from CII raised by Deepak Jacob, Co-chair, SCORECARD 2014 and President and General Counsel, Star India Pvt Ltd that infrastructure status should be given to sports, Sharan said that there should a larger role for private sector engagement in the sports development in the country.

He further said that there is need for channelizing more funds for creating sports infrastructure, training of potential sportspersons and in engaging world class coaches.

He also asserted that the Sports Ministry will put up in the website the of profiles of sports events and sportspersons that can be funded directly by the private sector under the National Sports Development Fund Scheme.

He further added that sports management companies and consulting companies are increasingly being engaged on a continuous basis for promotional activities. Their role will increase in the coming days.

Welcoming the recommendation made by Jacob to form a Joint Task Force between Government, Industry and sportspersons of sports bodies, Sharan observed that the Government would be consulting the private sector and take their help in bringing in new momentum in the sports eco system in the country on a sustained basis.

At the same time, he said that National Sports Federation have a greater role in sports promotion.

He urged the CII to actively engage them in its strategy to get involved in the sports availing their expertise, funding and infrastructure at their command.

Referring to the underutilization of stadia built during major sports event, he observed that all over the world, despite the best legacy planning, stadia cannot be used 365 days a year.

He said that corporates should use the excellent facilities available with the stadia for their meetings. Also, the government is working out various schemes for encouraging peoples’ connect for these stadia by creating facilities for jogging, walking, cyclingetc. alongside these places.

He said that in the next couple of months there would be marked improvements in the usage of these facilities.

Sharan mentioned about setting up of the National Institute of Sports Medicine for which a blueprint has already been prepared. This body will provide the scientific support to sportsmen to improve their performance.

CII National Committee on Sports Chairman and Group President (Asia) of Coca Cola Company Atul Singh suggested that the corporates should be more patient and draw up long term strategies in their engagement with the sports sector.

“Sports have a strong business appeal and at the same time one should not look at the return on investment in the short and medium term. It takes longer duration of engagement to get the desired results”, he added.

Mentioning that the sports development involves active engagement of all stakeholders such as sportsmen, sports fans, the Government, corporate sector and the civil society, Singh observed that there would be rich societal dividends from sports development.

“Sports is a teacher, leveller and can create great leaders,” he added.

Deepak suggested that the corporate sector should go beyond sponsorship and corporates social responsibility (CSR) in the case of sports development.

Media, he said, has an important role in sports development by creating local heroes and triggering local passions. IPL, he said, despite the controversies, which it has created, has helped in popularizing the game and building the connect with the people. More such niche games should be identified for focussed development.

Speaking at the session, Jaideep Ghosh, Partner, Management Consulting, KPMG in India said, “It is critical to build a dynamic sporting culture through collaboration between Government and the corporate sector. Inadequate public resources for sports and less prominence of non-cricket sports impede our performance in the global sporting arena”. (ANI)