sports ministry

This tag is associated with 5 posts

“Infrastructure status” and tax benefits for stadia construction: Boon or bane?

The sports ministry of India has recommended to the finance ministry that sports stadia be accorded “infrastructure status”.

Such a development will aid developers in securing long-term financing from banks at cheaper rates and avail tax benefits.

Stadiums will thus be classified under social and commercial infrastructure which includes educational institutions, hospitals, industrial parks, special economic zones, soil-testing markets and cold chains.

Parties seeking to build sports stadia will thus be able to finance their projects using the 5:25 scheme announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the last budget proceedings. The scheme stretches the repayment period to the economic life of a project as against the norm of five years.

These loans can be refinanced every five-seven years.

The onus is on the developers to ensure that the projects continue to be viable and not become non-performing assets (NPAs).

Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner, infrastructure and government services, KPMG said:

“Currently, stadiums are closed down after the sports events are over and they are not easily accessible to general public. The government needs to resolve these issues so that the revenue models are clear and sports infrastructure becomes a viable investment opportunity.”

Latika Khaneja, director of Collage Sports Management, added:

“The existing stadiums are highly under-utilized. Unless you allow private developers to open stadiums to public whereby they can charge a fee, who will invest in such infrastructure?”

Nita Ambani, chairperson of the ISL,  believes that there needs to be a sporting culture in the country as well.

She said:

“It is important that we encourage our young children towards sports. Sports should become an integral part of school curriculum. Children must enjoy playing games rather than sitting indoors. I am not saying only cricket or football, but India should become a multisport nation.
We need to work on our infrastructure, on our coaches so that the next generation that is growing up can see sports as a profession.
Today parents don’t encourage kids to take up sports as a profession except for some of the sports that are lucrative. They still ask them to become a doctor, engineer. If sports can become a profession and can have an income to it, it will change things around.”

A Times of India, Bengaluru, article states:

“Stadia are built by governments to encourage a healthy way of life, engaging youth development through sports and games and achieving excellence in sports. It is also the responsibility of every government to ensure it provides spaces and infrastructure, keeping in mind the health of its citizens.
There is no harm in taxing stadia except for the fact that government agencies are, perhaps, overlooking the purpose of building these facilities for promotion of sports in the first place. Although I agree that infrastructure built has to raise revenue for its own upkeep, the ministry of sports must clearly identify activities that need to be taxed -such as exhibitions, rallies, corporate events, events for which tickets are sold etc- from activities purely for promotion of sports which could be athletics and competitions. Be it inter-school, inter-state or nationals, taxing of athletes and coaches must not be allowed at any cost.”

The sports ministry’s proposal, on the face of it, appears to be progressive and beneficial to the nation’s economic growth.

But the experience with funding construction of stadia, specifically with taxpayers’ monies, has been more bitter than sweet.

List of current National Football League stadiums

List of current National Football League stadiums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Football League, in the US, is one such beneficiary of government largess.

The NFL expects special treatment.

It is estimated that 70% of the cost of building and operating the fields where NFL teams play comes from taxpayers.

Land may also be gifted by local governments eager to attract NFL teams to set up base there.

The Atlantic reports:

“Hidden costs may include city or county government paying electricity, water, and sewer charges for a stadium (such as First Energy Stadium in Cleveland, where the Browns perform), the city paying for a new electronic scoreboard out of ‘emergency’ funds (ditto First Energy) or the issuance of tax-free bonds that divert investors’ money away from school, road, and mass-transit infrastructure (Hamilton County, Ohio, issued tax-free bonds to fund the stadium where the Cincinnati Bengals play, and has chronic deficits for school and infrastructure needs as a result).”

It adds:

“The NFL even accepts subsidies for honoring the U.S. military. Games often are preceded by color guards, or the display of various military banners. This promotes the NFL, not the military, by suggesting professional football somehow is related to national security. The NFL stages an annual ‘Salute to Service’ event during Veterans Day weekend, in which coaches dress up in fatigues as if they were military officers, again trying to create the impression the NFL has some relationship to defense of the nation.

At least the league is showing appreciation to service members, right? If only. In 2015, Senator John McCain of Arizona disclosed that the Pentagon pays the NFL about $2 million per year to stage what appear to be displays of patriotism. Included in 2014 was $675,000 to the New England Patriots to honor National Guard members at halftime: Most other NFL teams received payments for introducing color guards, and for similar bunting-dressed activities. As for that ‘Salute to Service’, in 2014 the NFL donated $412,500 to wounded-warrior projects, and was lavishly praised by partner networks for doing so. The amount is about one-20th of one percent of the league’s annual public subsidy.”

Football fields are also used least in comparison to baseball parks, for instance.

Ted Gayer and Alex Gold of the Brookings Institution concluded in a 2015 study:

“Despite the fact that new stadiums are thought to boost local economic growth and job creation, these benefits are often overstated. Academic studies typically find no discernible positive relationship between sports facility construction and economic development. Most evidence suggests sports subsidies cannot be justified on the grounds of local economic development, income growth, or job creation.”

The Wikipedia entry on stadium subsidies, in its criticisms, states:

“There exist many criticisms regarding the use of stadium subsidies. First, critics argue that new stadiums generate little to no new spending (consumption). Instead, what fans spend in and around the stadium are substitutes for what they would otherwise spend on different entertainment options. Thus, this argument contends, new stadiums do not cause economic growth or lead to increased aggregate income. Because there is not an increase in consumption related to new stadiums, it is not worth the cost for cities to subsidize their construction.

Another criticism of stadium subsidies is that much of the money the new stadiums bring in does not stay in the local economy. Instead of going to stadium employees and other sources that would benefit the local community, a lot of the money goes toward paying the players. The problem is that most of these players do not live in the local community, so the money they make is taken away and spent in other locations. Critics question why a city should subsidize a sports stadium when large portions of the revenue the stadium receives will not be reinvested in the city. They go on to claim that subsidizing job training or improved transportation are smarter investments to make, as they will yield higher returns for the city.

Critics also argue that the construction of new stadiums could cause citizens and businesses to leave a city because of eminent domain issues. If a city is forced to take land from its citizens to build a new stadium, those who have lost land could become angry enough to leave the city. If they are business owners, then they will likely take their businesses with them. This cost, it is argued, must be added in when a city determines whether or not it is worth the cost to subsidize a new stadium.

Finally, critics contend that any benefits resulting from a new stadium are felt by the entire region where the stadium is located and not just the immediate city. However, often it is only the city, and not the whole region, providing the subsidy. Thus, the city is not realizing the full benefits of the new stadium while, at the same time, undertaking the full cost of the subsidy.

A review of the empirical literature assessing the effects of subsidies for professional sports franchises and facilities reveals that most evidence goes against sports subsidies. Specifically, subsidies cannot be justified on the grounds of local economic development, income growth or job creation. A survey of economists also reveals a general opposition toward sports subsidies.

Joel Kotkin on says:

“I think this is sort of a fanciful approach towards economic development instead of building really good jobs. And except for the construction, the jobs created by stadia are generally low wage occasional work.

The important thing that we’ve forgotten is ‘What is the purpose of a government? Cities instead of fixing their schools, fixing their roads or fixing their sewers or fixing their water are putting money into ephemera like stadia. And in the end, what’s more important?”

The Heartland Institute provides a list of papers that document the economic impact of publicly funded stadiums here.

I’ll leave it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

Yoga is now a national priority sport. Can it go international?

Call it ‘yogic karma’ or ‘just desserts’ but yoga is now a sports discipline in the ‘priority’ category.

The sports ministry is to make yoga a ‘sports event’.

Yoga postures Bhagaritasana.intro.

Yoga postures Bhagaritasana.intro. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Yoga Federation of India, recognised by the Indian Olympic Association , is the main beneficiary of this extraordinary decision by the Narendra Modi sarkar.

Aims and objectives of the Yoga Federation:

  • To promote, encourage, popularize, standardize and supervise Yoga in the Country.
  • To encourage the formation of State Yoga Associations in the country.
  • To arrange and supervise the Yoga Championships, Camps, Seminars and other Contests.
  • To arrange, regulate and if necessary finance visits of the National Yoga Team in Asian Yoga Championship and World Yoga Championship. .
  • To arrange, regulate and if necessary finance visits of the National Yoga team.
  • To perform all such others acts as may seem to the Federation to be relevant and conducive to the attainment of the aims/objectives of the Federation.

Interestingly, yoga does not meet any of the criteria of being a priority. A discipline has to be a part of the Olympics, Asian or Commonwealth games to fall under this listing.

Yoga postures Catushpadapitham

Yoga postures Catushpadapitham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yoga may now be included in the National Games.

Onkar Kedia, Joint Secretary in Sports Ministry, denied that the move was on communal lines.

He said:

“It’s a tradition. People across the religion have been practising Yoga. It’s high time that Yoga is seen as sport.”

Yoga Federation of India (YFI) secretary general, Ashok Kumar Aggarwal, was jubilant.

He said:

“Winners in national and zonal championships will get grace marks. With the ministry including it as a sport, yoga practitioners will benefit as they will become eligible for jobs under sports quota. We are eying an Olympic entry in the near future. We have asked the national federations to liaise with their respective Olympic associations to push for the inclusion of yoga in the Olympics.”

Yoga postures Bhujangasana

Yoga postures Bhujangasana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The YFI conducts National Yoga Championships in the following four events every year:

  1. National Yogasana Competition
  2. National Artistic Yoga Competition
  3. National Artistic Pair Yoga Competition
  4. National Rhythmic Yoga Competition.

As per the YFI website, the following is the description of the above events:

Artistic Yoga consists of presentation of various asanas by male/female including forward and backward bending, balancing, supine and prone lying, sitting postures etc. performed in all four directions with music. It is synchronization of body movement with music (without break).

Artistic Yoga Pair consists of presentation of various asanas including forward and backward bending, balancing, supine and prone lying, sitting postures etc. of competitors choice including pyramid making, performed in all four directions with music.

The pair will consist of either both the girls or both the boys or a boy and a girl.

Both the participants will perform, two different postures at a time. Performing same postures will be a disqualification.

The number of postures performed shall be 8-10 of competitors choice.

Body touch is allowed in the competition.

Making of pyramid will be given preference.

Synchronization of body movements with music will be given preference.

Time duration for the presentation will be 120 – 150 seconds.

Rhythmic Yoga is known as pair yoga. The pair may consists of either both the boys or both the girls.

Rhythmic Yoga is the presentation of various asanas to be performed in all four directions.

The pair should perform the same postures together.

Body touch between two participants is not allowed.

There should be perfect synchronization of body movements with the music.

With yoga a sport and no longer merely a form of exercise, can we expect a Yoga Team League soon for television audiences?

Sanjay Dixit: What he said, really meant and definitely did not

Sanjay Dixit - RCA president

What he said:

I did not know whether I was looking at a draft legislation or an operations manual of a sports association.”

Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) secretary, Sanjay Dixit, writes that the draft Sports Development Code framed by the Indian sports ministry attempts to cover all bases (read loopholes).

Dixit added:

“Here we had a compendium which seemed to address every micro detail.”

“I learnt that an argument had been advanced that since certain associations got free land, they were amenable to government control. Taking this logic further, almost every hospital, educational institution, most industries, and many NGOs should also come under government control and RTI. In legal parlance, it is called perverse logic.”

What he really meant:

“It’s about control, more aptly put a tussle for control. The government wants IN, the sports bodies want (the government) OUT.”

Autocracy is all right—as long as I’m the one ruling the roost.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“It’s an open door policy for sportsmen administrators. Don’t even bother to knock.”

Shashank Manohar: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


What he said:

“It is not as if the BCCI is a closed-door body.”

BCCI President, Shashank Manohar, defends the cricket board’s right to stay independent. The Indian sports ministry is seeking to classify the richest sports body in the world as a national federation under the proposed National Sports (Development) Bill 2011. It is believed that the move would make the BCCI accountable under the Right To Information (RTI) act—a view contested by the BCCI.

Manohar reacted claiming that the BCCI “being a non-governmental organization, which has its own constitution and generates its own funds” does not fall under any of the applicable categories.

“In fact, there are two orders passed by the country’s Chief Information Commissioner wherein it has been clearly stated that the RTI Act doesn’t apply to the BCCI."

The Board President contended:

“All said and done, cricket is the best administered sport in the country.”

What he really meant:

“How can we have a closed door policy? There is no door. Lalit Modi’s generous tweets and disclosures (from UK) battered it down.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“The BCCI is sanctioning the building of a fresh office—all glass.”


Indian teams for lagori,kho-kho,gilli-danda etc. cleared for Pakistan tours (Satire)

SHARM EL SHEIKH/EGYPT, 19MAY08 - Syed Yousaf R...

Gilani and Manmohan Singh will be in attendance at all the games

In the wake of the Indian government’s decision to resume cricketing ties with Pakistan, the sports ministry has decided to go ahead and clear a slew of sporting tours between the two nations over the next few months.

Despite the removal of any barrier to bilateral series between the two neighbours, the cricketing calendar does not have any slots free until 2012.

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