The challenges faced by Indian sports governance can be broken down under several heads: identifying sources of funds; strategic decisions; overhauling of system; and cultural factors that must be taken into consideration and solved.
Identifying fund sources
Considering that the lack of adequate funding was a major factor in India’s poor performance at the Rio Olympics, it’s time to think of unconventional ways to remedy this situation. Here are a few options:
~ Crowdsourcing (public funding): This method of raising money has become acceptable across the world. Certain websites, such as funds4sports.com also facilitate such campaigns.
Each academy can have its website, giving a detailed plan of the how the amount was used, what improvements have been brought in, what kind of equipment has been purchased (with proof), and other such important details.
~ Approach sports companies (advertisements): Multinational sports companies invest heavily in advertising. To attract big brand names, sportswear majors such as Nike, Adidas and Puma, as well as health engagement companies, training academies and stadiums should host community-oriented programmes once a month. For instance, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) academy in Kolkata could be open to professionals for their training sessions.
~ Create public sports centres (revenue): Each metro in the country can have a sports museum, highlighting the evolution of sports, the gradual involvement of women in it, the equipment used, the newest technologies in the field and other such interesting information. Each museum can also have game rooms for archery, wrestling and shooting under strict guidance.
~ CSR funding: Sports facilities and infrastructure should be added to the list of areas where CSR funding is allowed. This will open up new avenues for companies that are uncertain where to invest CSR funds and has the potential to transform the country’s sports scene.
~ Create a divisional organisational structure in each State. Each State should have the same SAI structure present at the national level. This will make it possible to have better control and better maintenance.
~ Increase accountability with a clear division of work, and specific job descriptions.
~ Introduce bonus and variable pay for coaches. They should be accountable to the body for participants’ performance. Introduce a balanced scorecard approach to the variable pay component of salary. This can be based on instances, such as how much the player achieves vis-á-vis performance requirements, the fitness levels and the coach’s abilities.
~ Approach consultants to analyse the entire system and give suggestions.
Selection of talent
Categorise sportspersons into these categories. Screen young talent from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. And send expert teams on a nationwide search for talent and categorise them as shown in the Talent Hunt table.
Promotion for crowdsourcing :
Social media should be fully utilised and leveraged to promote NITI Aayog’s efforts and policies with regard to Olypmics, the work accomplished by National Sports Development Fund (NSDF), and the fact that India has to win medals at the Olympics. A sustained nationwide mission should be promoted on social media.
Introduction of salary: A salary system should be introduced so that sports can be pursued as a stable career. Bonus and variable pay can be given as per internal performance checks. This will secure and encourage those who want to take up sports as a profession. The move will help discover and retain good talent, as there is sure to be intense competition for the few seats at the academy.
~ Pursuing sports as a career is not greatly encouraged in our country, because of its unstable nature. To counter this mindset, school trips to the sports academy can be planned. Giving young minds early exposure to sports as a career option and the facilities available could help motivate them.
~ The system should be made transparent so that perception of unfairness is reduced.
~ Conduct awareness workshops in rural areas, explaining how the system works, what the monetary benefits are, the prestige involved, and availability of sports quota after retirement.
~ Ask government schools to introduce compulsory sports sessions. Each student should take up a sport of his choice — hockey, football or chess — so the world of sports is not alien to them.
~ The journey of winners should be recorded and used for promotional content. This will help clarify any misgivings that a common man has.
~ Last, TV channels should focus more on showcasing sports other than cricket. Since the electronic media holds a considerable sway over people’s interests, more screen time should be devoted to alternative games and matches. Endorsements and the fame surrounding cricketers should be channelled towards other professional players as well.