Industry experts call for relaxation of quarantine rules for return of live sports in India
Sports Minister Rijiju said he would soon like to see return of live sports in India. “We are trying to resume all sports training activities by October. We have no sporting competitions now but as I see things emerging, hopefully a vaccine will come out soon. Early next year, we will have some kind of very fascinating events back in the field,” the Sports Minister said.Updated: Oct 03, 2020, 20:22 IST
Relaxing the quarantine rule and changes in guidelines related to COVID 19 protocols were some of the suggestions made by industry experts to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday for return of live sports events in India.
The experts said with no live sports events the sector has taken a huge hit this year.
“In 2019, the live sports events sector in India touched 9,100 crores and without COVID this sector would have easily touched Rs 10,000 crores this year. However, that could not happen and now the revenue loss due to COVID across the board, including media is approximately Rs 4,000 crore,” said Vivek Singh Joint MD of Procam International, during a webinar organized by SPORTSCOM, an industry think-tank body. The session saw experts in sports business industry and former athletes including Pullela Gopichand, Ashwini Nachappa, Viren Rasquinha, besides Udit Sheth, founder of SE TransStadia and CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee , addressing sports minister Rijiju.
Singh said there are several key challenges that need to be addressed for bringing back sports competition. These are quarantine rules, unavailability of events cancellation insurance, and promoters’ liability.
“Overseas athlete are today subject to about 12 days of quarantine and multiple COVID tests etc. We are concerned that such a long quarantine would affect the participation of elite athletes in sporting events in India. Our appeal to the ministry is that a COVID negative certificate within 72 hours of their taking a flight and another negative test within 36 hrs of their arrival in India and the creation of a bio bubble by the event promoter should be enough for participation. The quarantine rule should be relooked at the earliest.”
“Established COVID 19 protocol must be in place for all events and when the event has followed all the protocols, the event promoter should not be held liable for a COVID case. Each participating individual, player or official should be personally responsible for his own safety.”
He also said the events cancellation insurance especially when taken by a private body for COVID 19 is not readily available by insurance companies. “We don’t know how to deal with this and any assistance from the ministry of sports would help.”
Sports Minister Rijiju said he would soon like to see return of live sports in India. “We are trying to resume all sports training activities by October. We have no sporting competitions now but as I see things emerging, hopefully a vaccine will come out soon. Early next year, we will have some kind of very fascinating events back in the field,” the Sports Minister said.
Uniformity in GST
Neeraj Jain, Director, COSCO, India, called for uniformity of GST across sports and fitness sector. “The uniformity of GST in manufacturing segment if done at 12% would mean 50% jump in the growth of domestic market sales. While apparel and shoe manufacturing are not included in Sports Manufacturing sector, the market size alone for these two product stands at 1,7000 crores and needs a nodal agency to recognise an make Indian Sports Manufacturing Sector Atmanirbhar.”