For sports heroes-Government must consider innovative funding, including legalizing betting

News: At a recent sports university inauguration, the PM of India said that Indian youth should be motivated to take up sports as a career.  

Although India has had its best performance of the history at the Tokyo Olympics this year by winning 7 medals including a gold in Javelin, but the fact remains that except cricket other sports in the country lack an ecosystem of professionalism and excellence.  

Must Read: Sports sector in India: Issues and challenges – Explained, Pointwise
Why is sports not a preferable career choice for most Indians? 

Sporting infrastructure in the country remains very underdeveloped and insufficient. 

The lack of funding at the grassroot level: Funding is mostly directed towards the few top athletes with international medal-winning potential. This makes sports a less viable career option for the majority of the others who lack the resources to pursue it. 

Must Read: Preparing India for a sporting future
What is the way forward?  

Lessons from other countries: India can learn from the sporting models followed by other countries. For instance: USA has strong sporting cultures in universities that not just produce top-ranked athletes but also employ trainers, sports doctors and scientists. However, India lacks any such university ecosystem. 

Legalising betting: It can yield substantial revenue in the form of taxes for creating sports talent hubs across the country. For instance: UK’s national lottery funding for sports works on legalising the sports betting. 

Also, Legalised betting would also check illegal bookmaking and its link to match-fixing mafia. 

Once the foundational sports ecosystem are set up, the flow of private investment in the sector will be easier. 

Must Read: Making India a sporting nation | Every sportsperson is a champion | Why funding sports is an Olympian hurdle

Source: This post is based on the article “For sports heroes-Government must consider innovative funding, including legalizing betting” published in The Times of India on 4th Jan 2022. 

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