Key to running football club is patience, says FC Pune City’s Gaurav Modwel
FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel explains why running a football club is just like managing any other business moduleUpdated: Sep 07, 2017 13:14 IST
In a world of booming finances, running a football club can often prove to be a tedious ordeal, as the influx of capital is required on a constant basis to ensure its smooth administration. While the Indian Super League (ISL) that was launched in 2014 has been a miracle for the game of football in the country, its owners and Chief Executive Officers work tirelessly behind the scenes to prevent them from insolvency, and ensure that they are participating among the country’s elite in the month of October every year.
Fortunately for fans in the city, they had their own ISL club to root for in the form of FC Pune City. The Maratha Stallions, co-owned by renowned Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, Italian club Fiorentina and the Wadhawan Group, have been a solvent football team for the last three years. Despite boasting a number of big names, FCPC have seldom flirted with the top spot in the table, and are still to make a semi-final appearance in the ISL.
That being said, club CEO Gaurav Modwel, who has been at the helm since the outset, has nothing but positive light to throw on his experience at FC Pune City. Knowing the etiquettes and know-how of running a successful business, he has brought his expertise to the table to ensure that the Pune outfit is on par, or even better financially as compared to its rivals in different parts of the country.
Taking time off from his busy schedule, Modwel spoke exclusively to Hindustan Times and shared what it really is like to be in charge of a mega project such as FC Pune City. The multi-dimensional businessman has been the CEO since its inception back in 2014, and is now almost synonymous with the internal affairs at the club.
Due to the humongous stature of the ISL, a large amount of capital was expected to be pumped in at the outset, but it wasn’t too much of a hindrance for Modwel due to his experience in handling business of various molds in different fields of the economy.
“Initially for me, it was just as another business venture. I have had startups in various fields, and this was something I have wanted to initiate for a number of years. It was a little difficult in the first year as we had little time to understand the international policies. At the start, we also had to discuss the basic DNA and philosophies we want to build the club on. We then had to iron out marketing plans, so as to bring the club in the public eye, and thus build our legacy on it.”
However, once the wheels were set in motion, FC Pune City continued building towards the future, and has grown in stature and quality with each passing year. More and more youngsters are being promoted from the academy into the first team, and they now seem to be one of India’s stronger football clubs.
That being said, running a football club of the size of FCPC is no mean task, and takes a lot for it to be governed in the right way so as to ensure that no unnecessary spending is occurring which can eventually lead to the downfall of the team. Speaking in regard of the administration, Modwel said: “Football hasn’t seen a large influx of capital in the past, so it is a risk for the owners to shell out the funds, but the risk factor is present in every single business. However, for me it has never been hard to pump in the money for the administration of the club, and slowly we’re starting to cut our losses.”
Modwel then gave a fundamental tip for the smooth running of any organization, and stated that it was the philosophy that many of the successful clubs throughout the world employ. He said: “The key to running a club is patience. Due to the heavy investments and long-term commitments, it will take time to break even, so it undoubtedly isn’t a project for the shorter term. We’re marginalizing on our losses every year, and we are bullish about the future.”
Obviously, every club is founded with the aim to achieve profitability and grow in resources over the years. Although, as Modwel rightly said that patience is the key for running a football team, and once they begin to breakeven, they can heave a sigh of relief and be optimistic for the foreseeable future.
While things are looking pretty good for FC Pune City, they will have to be aware that two Pune-based clubs Pune FC and Bharat FC set up stations in the I-League, but had to pull out due to insolvency, which resulted in colossal losses for the owners. When questioned about what he thought went he wrong about the two sides, Modwel replied:
“At the end of the day, for running any business or a football club, it is down to how much money you can invest. It usually takes a while for a project of this magnitude to establish profitability. So I don’t think there was anything wrong done by either of the two clubs, but it was all based on how much they were willing to invest, as it always takes a while to breakeven.”