With the coronavirus pandemic tipping the world upside down, several national sports bodies in India are bracing for reduction in financial assistance from private sector. Also Read - COVID-19 Weekly Wrap | Nearly 50,000 Cases Reported in Last 7 Days; Experts Blame Lockdown Relaxations
The major portion of a national federation’s budget (barring BCCI which is autonomous) comes from the government. They receive funds under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations from the sports ministry which is Rs 245 crore this year. Also Read - Three-Phase Unlock 1.0 From Tomorrow: States Decide Dos List, Centre Clears Don'ts List
Each National Sports Federation (NSF) has to submit its Annual Calendar for Training and Competitions (ACTC) proposals to claim their share from this fund. It covers an athletes’ training and equipment needs, participation in international tournaments, exposure trips abroad, and hosting of national and international events in the country. Also Read - Coronavirus: As Second-Last Day of Lockdown 4.0 Ends, Here's Where The Four Most-Affected States Stand
However, few bodies receive assistance from private sectors to cover the cost for hosting additional events, organise tournaments on a bigger scale and other paraphernalia. Corporate houses can spend money from their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for sports activities as per provisions made by the governement.
“Certainly, there is going to be reduction in CSR fund component which we get from the private sector due to this coronavirus outbreak. The private sector is hit hard and it will have an impact on corporate funding in sports,” Cycling Federation of India (CFI) Chairman Onkar Singh told PTI.
Honda Motors has been assisting CFI for the past few years, an amount which adds up to more than Rs 1 crore per year. However, they are yet to approve the project proposal for this year.
Currently all major sporting events have either been cancelled or postponed. CFI’s biggest international event is the Track Asia Cup — approved by world body UCI — which its hosts in New Delhi in September-October.
While the tournament is still on as per original schedule, any call on its future will only be taken in June. “…we will know more about this event depending on how this pandemic unfolds. All the international events have been postponed as of now and UCI will take a decision in June on the future course of action,” Singh said.
Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) has already drawn a Plan B with the Tokyo Paralympics postponed to next year.
“Yes, there will definitely be reduction of CSR funding to PCI in current financial year due to severe economic slowdown,” PCI Secretary General Gursharan Singh said. “As most of the corporate houses have already exhausted their CSR funds due to their generous contribution to the CARES fund, the contribution to sports bodies will not be a priority.”
PCI gets funds from Citibank Global (through a tripartite arrangement with world body IPC) and Hero Motors.
“PCI has already chalked out its financial plan for the year 2020-21 very meticulously since Tokyo Paralympic Games are now to be held in 2021 and therefore we hope to sail through,” he added.
But then there are federations including Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) who aren’t worried about their financial conditionds.
Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) Secretary General Sahdev Yadav said since their events are conducted from the funding from sports ministry so there’s no question of any financial impact. “We don’t get corporate funding, all our activities and events are conducted from the funds we get from the sports ministry,” Yadav said.