Uk high commissioner urges Indian firms to engage in sports

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 19:44

New Delhi: Ricard Stagg, British Hugh Commissioner to India, today exhorted Indian companies to take advantage of the expertise of British companies in the organization of mega sporting events like the Commonwealth Games in the areas of architecture, consulting, branding, and ticketing, along with infrastructure building.

Speaking at ‘Turf-2009’, FICCI’s Global Sports Summit, organized with the support of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and partnered by the UK, with Ethiopia as the focus country, Sir Richard Stagg said the UK-India relationship in the field of sports had been deepened with the signing of an MoU between the sports ministries of the two countries in 2007. The sporting ties are aimed at developing sports at the grassroots level for developing leadership skills and team working, he added.

In the UK, he said, sports was a big international business, standing close to 10 billion pound a year. For the London Olympics in 2012, more than 1000 companies from across the UK had already won contracts worth 5 billion pound while thousands more have benefited through the supply-chains. Of the direct contracts, 98 per cent had gone to businesses in the UK, half of these based outside of London and over two-thirds are small to medium sized enterprises.

The London Olympics, he said, offered a big opportunity for investment to Indian companies, adding that it was imperative for companies to engage in sports and use the expertise available around the world for the development of sports in India.

The Summit saw the release of a Knowledge Paper on Developing Sports in India: Vision 2020, a joint study by FICCI & Sports 18, and a White Paper on the Business of Sports brought out by FICCI and License India, edited by Ritu Maria of Brand Licensing Magazine & Director, License India.

K P Singhdeo, Chairman, of the Sports Commission of the Indian Olympic Association and Chairman of the Technical Conduct Committee of the Commonwealth Games, 2010, said the Commonwealth Games afforded great opportunity to the Indian sports authorities in the preparation of teams for the various sporting events at the Commonwealth Games, the second biggest sporting extravaganza after the Olympics.

The Sports Commission of India, he said, was pattern on the lines of the Australian Sports Commission, except that the former was answerable to itself, not to Parliament. Even so, India had managed to reach the 7th position in the Commonwealth Games and 4th position in Asian Games.

Tony Dell, CEO, Australia India Sports Alliance (AISA), pointed out that Australia had a lot to offer in upgrading the sports infrastructure facilities in India. AISA, he said, was developing centres in this country to provide opportunities for the development of sports in rural India in the expectation of producing a few world champions. These centres would develop sports training facilities, sports science and sports surfaces. “We are also looking to developing golf as the event has been included in the 2016 Olympics,” he added.

Harsh Pati Singhania, President, FICCI, emphasized that sport in India must be looked upon as an industry, beyond amusement and entertainment. That sport till now has not been a priority sector in India was evident from the budgetary allocation for it, he said, adding that the 1% budget allocation for the sports constrained the creation of new infrastructure and maintenance of existing ones. He called for broad basing of sport which could be achieved by the combined action of the Central and State Government.

Atul Singh, Chairman, FICCI Sports Committee & President & CEO, Coca Cola India, said India, with a young population and an extremely healthy economic growth projection provided a fertile ground for the growth of the sports industry. Aided by an aspirational and outward looking younger generation with high values on fitness, the industry was at the cusp of a major change. However, through the dynamics for a successful sports industry to prosper are there, lack of infrastructure, minimal private participation and a lack of sporting culture have not allowed sports to be pursued as a career, he pointed out.

The two-day convention is deliberating on subjects such as the need for adequate sports infrastructure and how to create it; the need for good coaching and coaches, physical fitness and endurance building techniques, the various facets of marketing of sports other than cricket and the absence of a sporting culture.

An exhibition showcasing sports equipment and technology and new products has also been organized during the course of the summit. The exhibition will give the sports goods and physical equipment manufacturers and sellers a rare opportunity to showcase their products, launch new products ands locate new clients.

Structured B2B meetings organized at the summit are expected to facilitate the flow of right technology for the sports goods manufacturing industry to enable it to compete at the global level and B2G meetings will help discuss the much needed policy issues and promoting the domestic sports manufacturing industry.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 19:44

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