Governance Processes and Player Representation in Indian Sport: [Essay Example], 754 words GradesFixer

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Governance Processes and Player Representation in Indian Sport

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Talent development and a farming system are consistent across almost every mature league in the world. These can be in the form of a direct feeder system such as the NFL and MLB have, through a complex, extensive and successful collegiate system – the National Collegiate Athletic Association where all colleges and universities in the U. S. that participate in sports come under. Or, they could be in the form of development teams/training squads such as the ones the PL, La Liga, NFL and MLB have, where players are tried out and then gradually elevated to the major league squad – a lengthy learning and proving time.

Thus, talent spotting, developing, and a gruelling minor league or development farming system are necessary components in sophisticated sports jurisdictions for ensuring the quality, depth and replenishment of superstars that make mature leagues successful. Having worked on numerous constitutional documents for structuring leagues in their initial years, the challenges that promoters faced were plentiful and consistent. Luke-warm interest from corporates, risk aversion that led to demanding performance floors, and individually negotiating franchise documents are components that weigh down promoters in nascent leagues. It inevitably turns into a governance quagmire, and rarely if ever due to mal-intent. Simply to get the show on the road meant accommodating and compromising while front ending expenses for the initial years.

The processes simply weren’t in place. And then, of course, there is the frequent interplay with the sports federations. Volleyball, Hockey, Badminton, and of course the infamous Indian Cricket League – in many respects the precursor to the league culture in India, have had a dual league controversy that has ended up in court. Hockey in fact has its third variant – the Hockey India League, which follows the Indian Hockey Federation promoted Pro Hockey League, and the Nimbus Sports Management promoted World Series Hockey. Ironically, even the Hockey India League is currently on a hiatus, having suspended operations for the 2018 season. Excess supply of league properties and finite demand, limited broadcast space (although digital now is filling the gap) and scarcity of infrastructure available make starting and operating a league a far less glamorous and viable proposition than merely liaising between celebrities and corporates. And that’s not an aspect that’s going to change in the immediate future. Player representation A unique feature of North American leagues is the collective bargaining arrangement whereby the players are represented by a players’ union and aided by professionals to negotiate in bulk the wages, rights, and other crucial components of the league with the owners and the office of the Commissioner.

Football is governed by the FIFA rules on transfer and loans of players. Indian leagues, unless they come under the umbrella of the international sports body that covers the sport, tend to not have detailed directives as to how the players’ rights will be protected, ascertained, and guaranteed. The Lodha Committee recommendation of forming a players’ association at the domestic and IPL levels is still unimplemented. If any aspect of league sport in India needs regulating, then it is the players’ rights that need to be regulated and protected. This today is a huge gap under the league first culture. The absence of players’ associations, or in some cases, associations that exist but are unrecognized by their national federations as is the case with the Football Players’ Association of India (FPAI), makes the balance of power tip completely on the side of the federations and league operators, which isn’t ideal. Many of the issues with representative aspects and governance aspects would be resolved if there is player representation in governing councils on matters such as player allocation, player wages, insurance, and contract negotiation/drafting.

Until a player representative council or a collective bargaining arrangement is in place at the league level if not the federation level, it will be difficult to ensure parity, development, and stability for athletes who compete in the professional leagues. Going forward, there could be regulation from Sports India or the Sports Ministry to ensure players in leagues get paid in full. Perhaps this can be handled through the No Objection Certificate that the Ministry provides to leagues, and the entire component of the unpaid wages can be placed in an escrow account, and at the conclusion of the league and meeting contractual obligations, the wages for players are secured and paid. Also to be considered would be incidental benefits such as insurance and financial planning that should be provided to athletes for protecting their long term future and those of their families.

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Governance Processes and Player Representation in Indian Sport. (2020, April 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 23, 2021, from
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