Thursday, 6 June 2013

On the Ball: Tying up all the loose ends

The last three posts of mine have been about my vidcast 'On the Ball' which looks at the problems plaguing Indian football and discusses how to correct them.

But there is much you will surely want to know about how all this took place. How did I get all these people to come to speak to me, how much did it cost? What about copyright infringement, all the behind-the-scenes information.

That's what I tell you here.

Gathering of sources

I planned to speak to three groups of people. The first were the fans, the ones who the players actually play for. The second were media personnel, the third were sports professionals.

The first fan I interviewed was Abhishek Iyer. He's been a friend of mine since we were toddlers and we've watched several football games with our friends. He is an ardent football fan and a couple years ago, he went to watch Blackburn Rovers take on Pune FC when he was studying (he still is) at a University in Pune.

He was therefore the best person to interview since he had seen the best (in a manner of speaking) of both worlds, witnessing an Indian I-League side take on a well-known European name.

Abhishek had a friend named Somnath whose brother I met at a family function. And no, I am not rambling a la Abe Simpson because his brother happened to be Apratim Mukherjee, a Risk Management Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers who had done in-depth analysis on Manchester United's floating on the New York Stock Exchange and knew the ins and outs of finances in Indian football.

The second group of fans I met with belonged to the Arsenal Supporters Group Bangalore Gunners. They organise screening of Arsenal matches and I wanted to film one of their screenings. I got in touch with them through their Facebook group, asking them whether I could film. The game I did film was the one against Manchester United, and there, I was able to interview a broad cross-section of fans who supported different clubs for their take on Indian football.

That day was doubly iconic because of the Guard of Honour afforded to United and because the group were gathering signatures to send to Arsenal as they were applying for official recognition.

For that game, fans who support not just Arsenal but Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were all present and after taking permission from those concerned, I was able to interview a good cross section of fans from all four clubs. Although I did ask for female fans to be interviewed as well, they did not consent.

At the screening, I was also able to fix up an interview with two members of the organising committee, Akash Deep and Vivek Vijayakumar. Both of them have followed both Indian and European football for at least ten years and are well versed with both versions of the game.

Akash asked me a day after the screening as to whether I would like to watch a local game, something I had never been to before. One of the teams featured, Rangdajied FC, featured a footballer who was an ex-schoolmate of Akash. Because we (or rather he) knew someone in the team, we were allowed to enter the team’s dressing room. That meant that I was able to interview Ericson Lyngdoh and his brother Eugeneson, who plays for I-League side Shillong Lajong FC and had come to watch his brother play.

These footballers ultimately play for the fans, and when you don’t have fans at the stadium, you have to dig deep and muster the will to play yourself. Both Ericson and Eugeneson were keen to speak out on the current state of Indian football and what needed to be done to bring fans to the stadium.

Also present at the screening was Chinmoy Aroutray, who volunteered at the SPT Sports Academy on weekends. He gave me the number of Mr Kanishk Saran, the Vice President of the Academy’s parent company SPT Sports Management Pvt. Ltd. After meeting him in his office, I was given permission to film at the academy, interview parents and get a coach on camera.

The second academy I went to was the XLR8 Academy. I owe its discovery to Lyonoidus, the only bloke who has commented on my blog so far. He told me about the academy and once I had spoken with those concerned, was able to film and interview there.

The third was the Arsenal Soccer School in Oman. Few academies do youth development better than Arsenal, so why not go to the best? When I was there in March, my dad – who knows someone at the Academy – gave me a contact. I then got in touch with said contact and was able to film.

All the journalists I interviewed were either personal or professional contacts. The three personnel I interviewed at Sportskeeda were all former colleagues of mine. I had worked at the company for nine months and they were more than happy to help me. 

While at Sportskeeda, I was introduced to Amoy Ghoshal, who reports on Indian football for the site from Kolkata. A former Hindustan Times and journalist, he agreed to be interviewed. It was also there that I met Ameet Nadi, who had spent ten years playing state-level cricket before branching into coaching at the Karnataka Cricket Academy and was therefore the best to quiz about the nation’s sporting culture.

Vineeth Krishnan is a former course-mate of mine. We did our undergraduate degrees together and he then went on to work for Times of India and ESPN. I emailed him and he agreed to a Skype interview.

Both Arya Yuyutsu and Kanishkaa Balachandran were coursemates of mine at the University of Sheffield where I completed postgraduate studies in Broadcast Journalism. They now work at ESPNcricinfo and I approached them to find out why cricket was so successful and how that contributed to the stagnation of football. 

Legal and Ethical considerations and distribution

Ericson did not want to be interviewed on camera as he was concerned about how he would come across. Since that was the only tool I had, I assured him I would only rip the sound from the interview and overlay that with images of him and his team mates.

All the filming that took place in both Oman and India was only taken and put on the public sphere after taking permission from all parties concerned. In the case of the Arsenal academy, I personally met them and showed them what footage I would be using. Any assurance that the footage would be used for academic purposes had to be compliant with the law.

In India, the Copyright Act of 1914 states that copyright will not be infringed by any fair dealing with any work for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, review or newspaper summary (Sharma, 2009).

Since Arsenal FC are in the UK, it was best to check that any filming was in accordance with British law as well. Fair dealing with copyright work for the purposes of criticism or review of that work or of another will not be treated as infringement subject to sufficient acknowledgement and that work being made available to the public (Banks & Hanna, 2009) according to the 1988 Copyright Act.

In addition, children were being filmed. I made sure that only those over the age of 16 were shown with their faces on camera. The others have been shown with side or rear profiles only, thereby adhering to the law that states that a child under 16 must not be filmed unless a parent or guardian is present (Society of Editors, 2009). Coaches from the Arsenal Soccer School were present during the filming.

In addition, Omani law states that public libraries, educational establishments and institutions can make a single copy of a published article or work for study and research if there is no direct/indirect financial gain (Curtis, et al., 2009).

In keeping with that, all three videos have been uploaded on YouTube and are available for the public. I have also made contact with my former employers at Sportskeeda to see if they will host my vidcast. I can now confirm that that has been agreed upon.

All archived footage was taken with the permission of those concerned. 

Even then, the responsibility to do the right think with the footage always lies with the journalist. (Jacquette, 2007) 

Social Media interaction

Truth be told, there wasn't much to begin with. I used the Bangalore Gunners Facebook page to rope in potential interviewees and fix up a filming date.

That aside, had agreed to publish my vidcast and that means sharing it on all Facebook pages the site have in connection to football. which is about nine different pages. 

Surely Skype counts as social media? Yes? In that case, three of my interviews were conducted via Skype. Apratim, Vineeth and Amoy were all reached via Skype.

In addition, I got in touch with Arya, Kanishkaa and my former Sportskeeda colleagues through Facebook and that was how I arranged everything with them.

Logistics and equipment

This project wasn't cheap. When I began the project, I had around 85,000 rupees in my bank account, or close to £1,000. By the time I had finished, I was down to a little around Rs. 20,000 or around £225.

Most of that money had been spent on the project. But the reason that is the case is because the logistics of video journalism (broadcast journalism) are quite expensive. (Thompson, 2005).

Take for instance the time I went to the XLR8 Arena, which is a good 20 kilometres from where I live. Public transport over such long distances in unviable in Bangalore and few people are willing to wait for an hour while I film. I therefore had to hire a cab to and from the Arena and make the cabbie wait there for an hour while I filmed.

It was the same when I went to the STP Academy. Cabs were unavailable on that day because they were all engaged and I therefore had to engage an auto rickshaw for the journey, the standard mode of public transport, make the driver (who was known to me) wait there and then take the same auto back because the academy was quite isolated.

Even when I did arrange for a cab well in advance, there was the occasional cock-up. The cab service that was to send a car for me was overbooked and therefore could not convey me to my destination. I think I screamed at the customer service rep on the phone for a good twenty minutes before gathering the common sense to ring up another cab company who sent me a cab straight away. Halfway through my journey, the manager of the first cab company did call back to say he had a cab waiting for me and apologised but by then I had already set off for the academy.

When I went to interview Arya and Kanishkaa, the rain was pouring down and obtaining an auto was rather difficult. I therefore asked the driver to take me there, wait for an hour and then take me back because there was no guarantee that I could get transportation back as it was rather late at night.

In addition, shipping the assignment to the UK cost around Rs. 5000 or £60. The pen drives which contain the date cost another Rs. 2,000 (£25).

The camera I used was a standard Canon PowerShot SX210 and the tripod I bought was of standard make, the one available in most shops. It came for around £10.

Adobe Premiere Pro was the editing software I used and Moyea Video Converter was used to boost sound levels. In that case, I grabbed the video straight from what I had filmed while the audio was imported once it had been boosted. Coordination between the two therefore was very important.

Conversion of video from one form to another was done using Leawo Video Converter while Skype interviews were recorded using the rather aptly named Video Capture Software from Softonics. Evaer, a software specially designed for Skype capture, was also used.

YTD YouTube Downloader was used to download all the required videos.

Screengrabs that you see in the videos were captured using MS Paint.

Technical concerns

The biggest technical concerns arose from the camera itself. It did not have a strong or precise enough microphone to capture the voices of those who did speak softly while capturing unwanted environmental noise.

I had initially bought 8.5 GB DVDs in an attempt to create a DVD via Windows DVD maker and ship it to the UK but after wasting four DVDs which either got stuck or refused to record due to errors, my dad suggested buying pen drives and recording the videos on them.   

Uploading the videos onto YouTube was also tedious. They took about 24 hours apiece and it was very frustrating to have to wait. 

In addition, Adobe Premier Pro kept crashing on me and the heaviness of the programme meant my laptop was frequently overheating.

In the end though, I hope that my project is similar to Radamel Falcao joining Monaco. Expensive but totally worth it.


Banks, D. & Hanna, M., 2009. McNae's Essential Law for Journalists. 20th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Curtis, Mallet-Provost, Colt & Mosle, 2009. Focus On: Copyrights and Fair Use. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 07 June 2013].

Jacquette, D., 2007. Journalistic Ethics: Moral Responsibility In The Media. 1st ed. New Delhi: Pearson.

Sharma, A., 2009. Indian Perspective of Fair Dealing under Copyright Law: Lex Lata or Lex Ferenda?, Bhopal: National Law Institute University.

Society of Editors, 2009. Newspaper and magazine publishing in the UK: Code of Practice, Cambridge: Press Complaints Commission.

Thompson, R., 2005. Writing For Broadcast Journalists. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

On the Ball Episode 3: what is being done at grass root level

In my first two episodes, I took a look at what the problems plaguing Indian football were and why they existed. In the third episode of 'On the Ball', I take a look at what is being done at grass-root levels.

In the third episode of On the Ball, I went to youth academies in both India and abroad to find out the foundations being laid for the footballers of the future.

My first stop was the Arsenal Soccer School in Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. Although not part of the assignment specifically, the reason I went to the Soccer School is because Arsenal are one of the best when it comes to developing youth.

At the school, I interviewed head coach Luis Miguel Gorgulho.

"If you take India for example, we know they love cricket. Cricket is their major sport. Wherever there's a major sport that dominates one generation's physical activity [sic] it goes without saying that there's not going to be much opportunity for football," says the Englishman."By providing kids who don't normally have that opportunity to play football, already you've made a step forward."

He is of the opinion that coaches from abroad are the best way to boost the game from the bottom up in nations that don't normally have a footballing culture. For this, he says, Europe is the best place to get coaches from, given the global success of European football.

"Because our coaches are fully qualified coaches, they are going to bring a higher level of coaching," he says. "That's not to say that there aren't coaches anywhere else in the world who can't do the job, but the experience that we bring with us from Europe, which is the hotbed of world coaching and world football, that's obviously going to impart a higher level of football development in a less developed country".

This is the philosophy the SPT Academy follow. With centres in New Delhi, Assam and Bangalore, the academy offers football coaching for kids from ages 6 to seventeen. In order to give them the best training, they have roped in Javier Cabrera, a UEFA certified coach who has coached Spanish sides Celta de Arguelles and Sagrados Corazones in the past.

The training methodology at the academy is similar to the one used in Spain, he says.

"Our methodology at SPT Sports is the Spanish methodology. This is focused on the specific training," says the Spaniard. "We organise a circuit with three different drills. One drill, for example is about passing and control, another drill is about one small-sided game, a possession drill, and for example another one [is a] shooting drill. We make small groups of players and they make rotations".

Although provisions are in place to improve the quality of India's next generation of footballers, he says the level between the kids in his native Spain and here is quite vast because of the lack of training that potentially skilled talents receive.

"The level between the Spanish kids and the Indian kids is very different. Here, there is talent. Here, if these kids keep training with high-level coaches, they can improve fast."

But development takes place fastest at a young age. One of the reasons he feels Indian kids are missing out is because they start training very late. "In Spain, you start training at five years old, here most of the kids are thirteen, fourteen years old, [but] of course we have many small guys," he says. 

"This is a very big gap because when you learn to play football, it is maybe from eight to twelve years old. That phase is very important, so if you start playing at thirteen [or] fourteen, you have to recover so many things."

That imbibing with skills at a very young age is what is being done across town at the XLR8 (pronounced 'accelerate') Indoor Sports Arena. In a city where open space is scarce, indoor arenas provide children with the space they require to learn.

But Cetric Joe, who oversees soccer training, says that kids want to have fun, not learn the bookish aspects of the game when they are very young.

"At this level, kids will be really bored to do the exercises or fitness," he says, referring to the latest batch of six-year-olds at the Arena. "As soon as I see the game, I want to play the game, before even I warm up, I get inside the court, I take the ball, and I want to form a team and I want to play immediately. I don't want to do the warm-up. That is what the kids are saying."

"But the atmosphere to do the warm-up, do the exercise, before the get into the game, that is very important," he adds.

Taher says the Arena is committed to taking the coaching classes from the most basic of levels so that kids learn to play football the right way.

"If you look at the coaching classes that we have right now, we are taking them from a basic level," says Taher, who has more than ten years of experience working with kids. "If you want [the kids] to play football again and again, you have to engage [them] in playing football, let them know what it is to play football."

"You are talking about an orthodox Indian culture where the PE teachers just stand in one place, saying 'go for eight rounds, for ten rounds' (around the pitch) where kids don't want to come back. Playing football indoors is more physically tiring than playing outside".

"When you play on an eleven-a-side ground, you'll have time to rest," he continues. "But indoors, you play five-a-side in this field, this 30 metres by two and a half metres field, there, for eight people running around, they have to run every second. There is a different form of fitness that we do". 

"Physically, your fitness, your endurance, all the stuff, the game will give you".

This mushrooming is sporting academies has only come up recently. In a nation like India, first preference is given to education because jobs are at a premium in an economy which has more than a billion people. But people are now seeing sports as a viable career path, as can be seen above. Another example of the same is Ameet Nadi.

A state-level cricketer since the age of 14, Ameet's tryst with cricket met a cruel and untimely end when he suffered a double jaw fracture while batting for his team. Since then, he has been coaching at cricket clubs in Karnataka state, having recently earned his coaching certification and also works for a company that provides fitness equipment.

"There was emphasis but it wasn't very widespread, not everyone was fortunate to get that attention," says the 31-year-old, referring to the standards of sport at school level when he was growing up. "There were very few coaches who were really good and you needed to be really fortunate to get their attention.These days, the access to a good coach is better than what it was before".  

"In India, especially, where there is a surplus population, employment is an issue, especially for people who are coming from middle-class families," he says, rather frankly. "So we need to ensure that sportsmen have enough number of jobs so that more people take to sport. Even if it is a corporate, they can always concentrate on sport."

"Basically, it is about generating employment in whatever capacity so once everyone knows that there is a good chance for employment even when you are a decent sportsman, that is when the sporting culture really starts developing".  

Sunday, 2 June 2013

On the Ball Episode 2: why the problems that plague Indian football exist

In my previous episode, I blogged about the problems that exist in Indian football. It came down to three salient factors:
  1. The lack of awareness and investment in the Indian sport
  2. The superior quality of European football
  3. The presence of cricket as the nation's dominant sport
In this second episode of On the Ball, I interviewed sports journalists and financial analysts who told me why these problems existed and looked at how they can be solved. In addition to only interviewing journalists associated with football, I also spoke to media personnel who were involved with cricket to get an alternate perspective into why Indian football is struggling.

1983 and India's triumph at Lord's

The primary reason India's dominant sport is cricket is because of what transpired at Lord's on the 25th of June in 1983, a day that will be considered one of the greatest in India's sporting heritage.

Classed as underdogs throughout the tournament, Kapil Dev's India beat the West Indian cricket team in the final, who were then considered cricket's dominant force, bowling out Clive Lloyd's team from the Caribbean for 140 runs, winning their first ever tournament by 43 runs, ensuring they had joined the clique that could lay claim to winning the World Cup.

"That was the time when cricket started displacing hockey as the number one sport in India," says Kanishkaa Balachandran, senior sub-editor as ESPN Cricinfo. "It's not to say that cricket wasn't popular before that but that was the turning point and that win had really sparked off the belief that India could actually win an international tournament in a sport other than hockey."

That wave gained momentum with the arrival of satellite television in the early nineties, when cricket matches from all over the world could be viewed in the comfort of one's living room. That decade also saw India host the 1996 edition of the tournament: a transition that saw cricket change from a highly popular sport to a highly profitable one.

Jaideep Chakrabarty is a social media analyst who works for multi-sport website "For a sport to survive, you have to provide stars, one, and results, two. Since 1983, India has produced stars at a regular basis. Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, they have kept on coming, and they have multiplied their successes as well," he says.

"The administrators need to identify a few moments. India won the World Cup in 1983 but till 1996, cricket wasn't a profitable sport. Parents didn't allow their kids to go and become cricketers but the scenario changed in 1996 actually when the World Cup came to India and someone like Jagmohan Dalmiya (the head of Indian cricket's governing body), who absolutely cashed into that opportunity and he took cricket to grounds in the interiors and made a huge, huge impact."

"That World Cup made the biggest impact in Indian cricket," he adds. "Cricket started making money because the big sponsors started coming in."

Are the administrators to shoulder the blame for the state of Indian football?

In a nation where cricket is considered religion, one of the nation's sporting gods is Sachin Tendulkar, who recently completed his one hundredth international hundred. Gautam Mahajan, Jaideep's colleague at Sportskeeda, says football needs someone like him.

"We need a Sachin for football. Sachin became so successful in cricket because every single kid could associate with him. They could empathise with Sachin when they saw Sachin play. We've never had someone like that [for Indian football]," says the editor.

"Baichung Bhutia was at that level but [the administrators] didn't make use of him. He went and played in Europe and all of that but it never helped because there has been no marketing of the I-League," adds Mahajan. "The I-League is supposed to be our showpiece, our most important league, this is where all our football takes place. All our footballers play in the I-League."

"Everyone is playing in the I-League so why doesn't ESPN Star Sports broadcast it? Why is there not better coverage of it? Why can't we have HD cameras for a change?" he asks.

If there was one single incident on the international scale to show how lackadaisical the attitude towards the game is by those who govern it, it was when Lionel Messi represent Argentina in an international friendly against Venezuela at the Salt Lake Stadium - India's largest football stadium - in Kolkata in September 2011.

"Argentina plays against Venezuela and it's on astroturf, and it was emitting so much of heat that they actually had to take a time-out in the 77th minute," says a slightly incredulous-looking Jaideep. "Now those kind of facilities has to change. You can't expect an international footballer of Lionel Messi's standard [who] just has to say 'stop the game because I am getting tired here because of the heat'. You can't have that."

The installation of state of the art facilities in the stadium had been lacking until Messi was scheduled to play there. Since then however, those facilities have fallen into disrepair.

Amoy Ghoshal formerly worked as a correspondent for Indian football for both the Hindustan Times and "You need to have proper dressing rooms, proper media centres, proper referees' rooms, which no stadium in India has at the moment," he says. "When Lionel Messi came to India, everything was renovated at the Salt Lake Stadium but then again everything went back to where it was: dirty stadiums, the fire extinguishers have already crossed their expiry date."

"In the twelve months time since Messi's appearance in Kolkata, it went back to where it was ten years ago," laments Amoy.

Change on the horizon?

Although this is the current state of Indian football, the sport does have a very large following. Being the world's most populous nation has attracted the attention of FIFA, who see vast potential in the country. In an attempt to raise awareness of the sport in India, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has bid for the 2017 edition of the U-17 FIFA World Cup.

Amoy hopes that the tournament will bring about the change needed where it matters most: at grass-roots.

"When I say grass-root level, I don't just mean clubs having four [to] five age groups of [teams, but] most schools should have a playground at the minimum. I can tell you that schools in Kolkata for example, the school that has the most students, they don't have a playground. You have to start playing at a young age and you have to be encouraged to take that sport seriously." he says, adding that schools in the nation don't know how important teams sports are for building a child's character.

Another aspect of the game he says will improve is the infrastructure, which as mentioned above is sub-par at best.

"If we do get to host the tournament, it will be a massive lift for the infrastructure of the game. Whenever a foreign player or a foreign coach comes in, the first thing they complain about is infrastructure, because without proper stadiums you will not get to see better teams coming and improvement in the youth structure."

But while Amoy was looking at the positives the tournament could potentially bring, Vineeth Krishnan has already found a snafu in the country's preparation for that tournament. The former Times of India journalist recently travelled to Kalyani on the outskirts of Kolkata to observe the set-up of the under-14 academies that were being set up in an attempt to prepare India's current generation of youth footballers for the tournament.

"These were state institutions hand-picking a select group of players, saying these are our best under-14 talent and from there [current AIFF Academy director] Scott O'Donnell and other coaches picked them up and brought them to Kalyani and you have a large number of them being tested for being overage, as overaged as 17 years old," he says.

The only states that did provide players of the right age group were Goa and Kerala.

"So where are we going to go forward?" he asks. "The whole idea of focusing on the 2017 World Cup for the U-17's was that India, if we get in as hosts, and we train these kids for three years, could reach a level where they could, not win the tournament, nobody was expecting them to win the tournament, but at least put up a good effort, display some good attacking football, for example."  

Vineeth is of the opinion that that Indian showing will give a boost to the game in India, something that has not happened so far. In an effort to improve the state of football from the bottom upwards, Scott O'Donnell, formerly of the Asian Football Confederation's grass roots development arm and Rob Baan, who was previously employed at Feyenoord and ADO Den Haag in his native Netherlands, were appointed as the  Academy head and technical director of the AIFF respectively.

The duo have the right ideas, according to Vineeth, and are the people to take India forward, having already modernised the training methods imparted to students at academies in the country.

"You've got a lot of Dutch coaches coming in. The Dutch are amazing at dealing with kids," he says. "You try to instil that sort of technique into the Indian game which to me is good. There's a lot of Indian coaches calling for Indian coaches to come in and take over and do away with the foreign coaches, but to them all I have to ask is, you had sixty years to do your training, where have you taken the country?"

Football: where's the moolah?

The Indian Premier League is a cricket tournament instituted in 2008 as a method of providing entertainment to cricket fans via a Twenty20 format of the game. The nine teams that contest the league are all owned by private enterprises, who have capitalised on the nation's near-fanatical fan following, and while some of them are waiting to turn a profit, a majority of teams are raking in the dough.

"The IPL came about because of Lalit Modi," says Kanishkaa. "Lalit Modi was a visionary. He pictured this tournament many years before the IPL actually came into existence so that was like his business plan and he employed it for cricket. Now if football had somebody like him to sort of spruce it up and if there was a tournament, an IPL-like tournament that comes up for football, that would be great."

But while there is hope that the infrastructure will improve and the game will develop with the potential arrival of the 2017 U-17 World Cup, will it - like in the case of cricket - bring about the necessary funds required for the sport to develop further in India?

The reason this is of concern is because of the recent folding of two I-league sides after operating costs which ranged from Rs. 70 to 100 million became very high for Mahindra United and JCT FC to manage, which meant they shut down after the 2009-10 and 2010-11 season respectively.

In 2010, IMG Reliance, the Indian arm of global sports media company IMG, signed a fifteen-year deal with the AIFF believed to be worth Rs. 7 billion. The money from that deal was to be split amongst all fourteen clubs in the league. Do the math and that amounts to about 500 million rupees over ten years, which amounts to fifty million rupees a year.

But that is only the first of many steps in the right direction What did later complicate matters was that IMG Reliance, who under the terms of the agreement would market and publicise the I-league, were struggling to attract sponsors less than two years into the partnership, which means that one of the problems in the Indian game is a lack of money from investors.

"Indian football could actually use money coming in from different sources," says Apratim Mukherjee of PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Currently, the league is looking to revamp it's structure so hopefully the new model that they come up with would ensure that they come up with sustainable revenue so that more investment pours in."

"The three major sources of revenue for any football club are gate revenues, media rights and sponsorships. Media rights is completely controlled by the AIFF while sponsorships and gate revenues are in the hands of the football clubs," he continues. "On top of that you've got a sort of a limit to the number of sponsors a football club can have, which is apparently six, so not much potential there and gate revenues according to figures that we have, it's pretty low. It's pretty worrying actually, considering that people are hardly watching Indian football at all in India, people hardly turn up in numbers to watch matches live."

This new model Apratim speaks of is one where a format similar to the one Major League Soccer in the United States is used. Because of the size of the States, the league is split into two portions, the Eastern and Western Conferences, but he says that Indian clubs are few and far between:

"[In the MLS], you've got clubs from all over and equally represented, which is not the case in India. In India, definitely the interest and the passion that you have in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai [and] Bangalore needs to be tapped. I don't think that these cities are even represented well enough in the league."

"I think there's a lot of money to be made, the time is right but I think the AIFF and the league that is in place, they have to get something going," he says in closure.