By the time I write this blog entry the India Under-23 fotball team will have played its first match in the football tournament of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou in China. But there has been a major issue with jersey’s as the Indian Olympic Association at the last moment decided not to provide match kits to participating Indian teams for reasons only known to them.
As per my knowledge Reebok has been kitting India for the Olympics and other sporting events where the IOA send delegations like the 2010 South Asian Games in Bangladesh or even the last 2006 Asian Games in Qatar. I clearly remember that the then football squad playing in Reebok kit.
This sudden decision by the IOA came as a surprise to all and once more proves the amateur approach of our sports administrators. The IOA did agree to provide Rs 3,500 per athlete for their match kit, which surel will not be enough for the footballers if bought in the open market and most likely the same for other sports federations.
What made matters worse for the AIFF was that the under-23 football team had been send to Beijing for exposure, so it had left only with training kit and match kit for friendlies which show the name of sponsors ‘Panasonic’ besides the Nike swosh. But it is a rule in international football that no sponsor name can be displayed on jersey’s.
And here I have to be harsh on the AIFF officials too. Why is the team not send on a foreign trip with a back-up kit for eventualities with only the AIFF badge and Nike logo on the shirts in both colours of blue and orange? Surely the IOA is supposed to provide the kit from their kit partners, but in such a case of emergency there needs to be a contingency plan and Nike surely would have loved to provide the jersey’s as they get exposure and the AIFF wouldn’t have to spend any money.
What happened? The team management got jersey’s made in China, only with numbers and AIFF logo; but it is mandetory to have the names of players on the jersey’s as per Asian Games rules. Now the only option was to use the jersey’s with ‘Panasonic’ written on them, but the sponsors name would have be covered with some sort tape. And that just does not look professional at all. Hopefully a better solution is found for the second game or maybe simply someone sends a new set of kits by cargo to Guangzhou.
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It seems that we often fail with things which I would call simply basic, while always looking at the bigger picture. This sadly just doesn’t work…