Wednesday, 25 June 2014

On 02:22 by Vishal Sawlani in    1 comment
 The much-awaited sporting extravaganza FIFA World Cup 2014 has already kicked off in Brazil on 12th June’14. The whole world is keeping their eyes on this game to get minutes of this FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 to make it memorable event of their life. This time of FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 is different from the way football fans have engrossed themselves into the game compared to earlier FIFA WORLD CUP events. All credit goes to new emerging world called Digital World where all social media platforms trying to associate themselves with most watched and branded game by keeping themselves abreast of game on real time basis besides engaging all fans across the globe. Like most of other countries, India is too fascinated about world’s most popular sporting event FIFA WORLD CUP 2014. I am amazed to see this world of “FOOTBALL” which is emerging, trendy and much more passionate than ever.
Amidst all of these, one billion dollar question which has been drumming my mind is that why cannot country of 1.2bn population represent themselves in this world’s most watched game FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 as the combined population of the 32 countries participating in FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 is 1.9bn? This clearly indicated that India alone represents 65% of the total population of participating countries in FIFA WORLD CUP 2014. This time, 209 countries participated to qualify in final 32 squad of FIFA WORLD CUP 2014. This shows that 1 in every 5 countries gets a chance to participate in FIFA WORLD CUP then why cannot we fall into this category? India ranked in last 27 countries who could not qualify for FIFA WORLD CUP 2014. What’s going wrong with India?

This time FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 is held at Brazil. It brings memories of the story of the Indian football team which was supposed to play in the tournament held in the same country 64 years ago. India missed the chance and has not got another one till now.

The Indian team stunned the world at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London by playing barefoot. It was the country's first appearance in an international sporting event after gaining independence from Britain. India got a chance to play world cup 1948 but it decided to withdraw from world cup being barred from playing barefoot besides other reasons including financial constraints and lack of awareness of the game rules.

Currently, FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 is the 20th edition of the biggest international soccer tournament in the world and unfortunately, India has never been able to participate or qualify for this event. What’s happening in India? I will be wrong if I say we are not passionate about this game. Indians too enjoy and follow this game.

Now let me tell you what are the factors which actually restraining India from representing since last 64 years.
1) Lack of Vision – Lack of vision for football game is something I believe is one of the topmost reasons for not able to represent this international event.
2) Lack of Awareness – Unlike cricket which is followed religiously in India, not many Indians even know about this game, only in urban area where football game is quite knows and followed.
3) Lack of Realization – Unfortunately, we have not been realizing the potential of football game. It is the large source of revenue maker for lots other countries as it brings lot of excitement amongst fans and International recognition which this game offers is something unmatched.
4) Lack of Accountability – Nobody from the sports department seems to be accountable to build competent and world class sports culture. Complacent attitude of these sports ministries and coordination gap among other sports committee are to be blamed for this sports cultural gap.
5) Lack of Basic Infrastructure – Unfortunately, due to lot of reasons, we have not been able to build world class sports infrastructure which in turn has led to poor adoption of this game. This might be due to lack of basic technical know-how of the game.
6) Lack of Promotion – Unlike cricket, govt. seem not be interested in promoting this international event at any stage of life. Due to lack of budget or less budget assigned to such game actually demotivates all related sports officials to promote this game and due this unpopularity only, it is not promoted and recommended amongst school and parents fraternity.
7) Lack of Recognition – We have not been able to acknowledged and recognized football game due to lack of focus and biased towards only one sport which is CRICKET. Lack of recognition at district, state, regional and country level.
8) Lack of Fame and Money –All above mentioned problem factors which actually hurt two main elements of this international popular game which are money and fame. These are the two ingredients which actually make this game a true international event.
9) Lack of Privatization – In India, Unlike Cricket, Football game is not privatized as it is handled by our govt. dept. and official which in turn brings complacency and ignorance on the table.

I can go on and list down “N” number of factors but those will not bring solutions so according to me, if we can just focus upon problem factors which have been acting as hurdles for football game not able to find place in India and vice-versa and try to fix all these issues one by one as soon as possible.

Indian Super League which is new and proposed football league in India has an agreement English Premier League is one of the solutions which we have taken aiming towards building a base for Football game and make it compelling enough to attract talent and viewers both.
I am sure if we start representing India in Football game at International level then it will help India to brand itself at International level as Brand India will reach out to global football fans which in turn boost Indian tourism and  other industries as well besides generating lot of revenue and job opportunities internally as well.
One day, I wish I would consciously say with smile on my face that “YES, WE TOO HAVE OUR INDIAN ORIGIN MESSI AND INDIA CAN WIN FIFA WORLD CUP"

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