Bengaluru: “As a professional sportsperson, one has worked hard to build a reputation and when you get into sports administration, it’s that very reputation that takes the first hit,” said former India cricketer and ICC official Javagal Srinath on the subject of ‘Leadership in the sports landscape’ at IIMBue 2016, the leadership summit hosted by the Alumni Association of IIM Bangalore, here today.
In 40 minutes of a very engaging talk on the need for transparency and probity in sports administration in India, the former secretary of Karnataka State Cricket Association explained what inspired him to take up administration. “As a player, you travel around the world and see the infrastructure, the transparency and the facilities out there and you want the same for your country. I pondered if I could make a difference — that was my mission.”
Explaining how corporatizing sport could help change the landscape of sports administration, Srinath said: “Sport in India is still not a profession. We don’t have a great structure because sports associations involve elections at every stage and elections usually spell trouble!”Opining that the corporate world and start-ups could make investments in the nation’s future to support sports, especially at the grassroots, he pointed out that the opportunities today are many. “Fitness as an industry can be an option. Opportunities are there as the market is nascent and open. The path forward is to get involved not in terms of branding only but in many other creative ways.”
Echoing Srinath’s thoughts on finding innovative ways to disrupt and create new models for spotting and nurturing sports talent in the country, Joy Bhattacharjya, Director, FIFA U17 World Cup, and former director of Team KKR in the IPL, said: “For instance, in our journey with U 17 FIFA, which will be hosted for the very first time, in India in October 2017, we have begun targeting the gatekeepers – parents and principals of schools – with innovative approaches to change perception that sport can be a career not only a hobby; that kids must be encouraged to play for passion and not to become the next Pele.”
Plenty of anecdotes, from the field and off the field, were shared by the speakers to the delight of the audience. If Srinath shared his experience of playing under 3 captains – Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly – with candour, Joy, ever the raconteur, had the audience in splits with stories from the KKR dressing room. “If I ever write my memoir, I will have 3 chapters on Shoaib Akhtar,” he quipped.
Day 2 of IIMBue started with a panel discussion on ‘Un-Tabooing of Wealth’ by Kunal Shah, Founder & Chairman, FreeCharge, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-founder & CEO, TaxiForSure, and Karan Bhagat, (PGP 2001) MD & CEO, IIFLW, moderated by Shreyasi Singh, author of ‘The Wealth Wallahs’.
All the panellists agreed that starting up just to make money is the wrong reason to start up. “I started TaxiForSure to solve a problem. Because the focus was there we created a lot of value. India is at a very early stage in terms of start-ups although there are quite a few unicorns now,” said Aprameya who later in the day led an extended networking session and took a range of questions from the alumni. Urging entrepreneurs to create frameworks of wealth, Kunal Shah said: “The joy of creating wealth and multiplying existing wealth cannot be the same.
Moreover, if you do over analysis, you will never be able to take risks. A sense of preservation in entrepreneurs will slow down the wealth creation process.” Karan Bhagat pointed out that wealth creators of newer generation look at things more actively, whereas the older generation tends to focus on wealth managing and preservation. “The new generation of wealth creators are happy to take risks and invest in start-ups; they are more clued in.” IIMBue 2016 concluded with a discussion on ‘Integrating the entrepreneur and investor view on disruption’, featuring Shivakumar Ganesan, Co-founder, Exotel and Sharad Sharma of iSPIRT.