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Is India an Emerging Football Market?

India will be on the agenda at the Soccerex European Forum 2012, which will be held in Manchester on March 28/29 next week with leading figures of European and world football attending. The workshop on Indian football is in the category of 'Emerging Ma...

India will be on the agenda at the Soccerex European Forum 2012, which will be held in Manchester on March 28/29 next week with leading figures of European and world football attending. The workshop on Indian football is in the category of ‘Emerging Markets’.

My question is quiet simple. Is India an Emerging Football Market? If not, what is it then???

There is no simple answer to this. I feel India is surely an emerging market in world football, but on the other side there are so many problems and obstacles which Indian football in itself will have to overcome to be able to not only be an emerging football market, but also become more than having this emerging market tag which has been hanging on Indian football’s head for five to seven years now.

The whole discussion on where Indian football stands internationally was started by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who on a visit to India in April 2007 had said that India is ‘the sleeping giant’ of world football. He mentioned that point at international gatherings again and again following his India visit, encouraging to support the development of Indian football, which FIFA themselves has done over the last five years.

Now earlier this month FIFA president Blatter was back in India and said ‘the sleeping giant has finally woken-up’. But he didn’t go into detail about what he actually meant. Surely FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation, European clubs, marketing agencies and others are keeping a watch on what is happening in India; but many could and would do more if the market was ready.

Another problem is by naming India as an emerging market many see dollar signs in their eyes and hope to earn money from such a market. But I always tell people that if you want to earn money in India, then you need to invest first and maybe in five to seven years you could start earning revenues or get returns on your investments. A lot of people disagree, but those are the real facts…

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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