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Indian football’s governing body has now stepped into the sponsorship ring despite the presence of their marketing partners...

This is a clear example of why Indian football is gusted away into the doldrums. The national team have failed to find any sponsor who will be willing to represent themselves on the team’s kit for the last seven months. The issue arose when Panasonic, sponsors of the team for the last two years, decided not to renew their contract.

According to a special report by The Hindustan Times, Such is the apathy of the situation that it was deemed necessary for the All India Football Federation (AIFF) themselves to launch a campaign to attract sponsors themselves despite using IMG-Reliance, their marketing partner, to advocate the national team’s marketing potential.

According to parlance between an Indian FA source and The Hindustan Times, ever since the Rs. 5.8 Crore per year deal ended in December of 2012, the AIFF hadn’t even had the opportunity to meet a few clients, thanks to the in-efficiency of it marketing partners. The previous deal had been struck by the AIFF before the arrival of IMG-Reliance as its marketing partners.

A spokesperson for IMG-Reliance, however, exhorted “IMG-Reliance is working with a host of companies for the sponsorship of the national senior team and we will me making an announcement over the next few weeks.”

The Indian team’s next friendly is against Tajikistan on the 14th of August and having played the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Myanmar in March without any sponsors to represent them, all is being done to rope in public sector units as a possible solution.

An AIFF official stated, “The AIFF has sent detailed proposals to PSU’s for a two or three year contract. We have had meetings and are yet to hear from them.” This bit of information was also confirmed by AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.

Unfortunately, the AIFF will have to bite the bullet and agree on lowered emoluments than what was received last fiscal. Also, one must remember that contractual rules and stipulations signify that the sponsor shall not brand their logo on shirts worldwide.

According to IMG-Reliance's website, it’s 15-year contract with the AIFF clearly states that the Indian FA “grants IMG-Reliance all commercial rights to all football across all football properties controlled by the AIFF including but not limited to the national teams and all current and future professional leagues. Such rights include media rights, sponsorships, advertising rights, licensing and merchandising rights, franchise rights, new league rights and any other commercial rights attached to any of these properties.”

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