Opinion on Indian Football: Ashok Rajgopal (Football One)

At the Soccerex European Forum last week in Manchester Indian football was well represented with over 20 people there from federations, the government, institutions, agencies and clubs. I spoke to some of these people to get their views on Indian football and will run a series across the week with these very interesting different view points.

I continue the series with the views of Ashok Rajgopal (Football One, CEO), who comes out of the financial sector with years of experience.

Where do we stand with Indian football today?

I think we are at a point of inflection! You know when we did the Formula 1 in India it was very successful and some of the comments from the F1 guys who came from outside the country actually made the point that if you have to look at the organisation of Commonwealth Games and then Formula 1. The reason for its (F1) grand success was the fact that it was a private sector organised sporting event.

And I believe that its gonna be the (Indian) economic growth itself will get the private sector more involved (in sports) rather then the government. I think that that is one of the big paradime shifts that you need in football. The lesser reliance and dependance on the government and the administration, the private sector is allowed to play its part a little more freely, I think you will see the impact.

If you look at infrastructure in connection with the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup bid then you look at the levels of sophistication, the private sector is better equipped. But if you look at the Commonwealth Games they (the government) have actually created stadiums which are pretty good but then you have issues like maintanaince and bureaucracy that kind of surrounds it. Where as you gave it away to the private sector they would figure out not only how to maintain it but also figure out how to make money out of it.

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