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Uncertain future threatens Indian sports

india Updated: Dec 07, 2008 00:39 IST

The fear of more terror strikes and the economic meltdown is creating a world where survival could become a nightmare. It is a deepening crisis whose contours have yet to acquire a concrete shape, though what could be in store for millions of us in India can be gauged from what is happening in the sports world.

England may have decided to go ahead with their tour of India but an international squash meet was cancelled in Kolkata as foreign players were not willing to turn up. It won't be surprising if more international events are not scheduled in the country for fear of players opting out.

The political compulsions are such at the moment that India, though a victim of extremist elements itself, is unlikely to send its cricket team to Pakistan. The much-feared Asian bloc in cricket, which gave India the clout to take on the rest of the world, could soon become a thing of the past.

There was still hope that the economic boom, which has changed the face of a section of urban India, could lure reluctant travellers to the country. Even that hope seems to be melting down, the signs of which can be read in the two news stories of the day. Japanese company Honda, the number two car-manufacturing unit in the world, has withdrawn from the prestigious Formula 1 race and nearer home India's only European Tour golf event has been postponed due to similar reasons. The event has been shelved as Emaar MGF has withdrawn its sponsorship and the organizers have also cited insecurity in India as not being of any help.

Even tournaments which did not have major money in terms of sponsorship are also feeling the pinch. The prize money for the tennis nationals being held in Delhi has been slashed from Rs 12 lakh to 4 lakh. It just goes to show that most of the companies, fearing even close down, are slashing their spending on sports.

The postponement of cricket's first Champions League due to terror strikes must have been welcomed by the TV company which has brought the rights to telecast the event for a whopping $9.5 million for a period of ten years. They were finding it difficult to get a title sponsor and one is not sure how much money they could have made through selling advertising spots during its live telecast.

As things stand today, even the IPL, which saw such extravagant spending by franchises last year, is going to suffer. The franchises, which had suffered losses were in the game expecting better returns in future, given the phenomenal response of the people to the tournament. Prudence would demand team owners becoming thrifty if not misers.

When jobs in thousands are getting threatened, what hope can sports have!