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BW Businessworld

Scoring A Self Goal

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The latest corruption row that has hit the World Football Governing Body FIFA only reveals the open secret that the spectators were so aware of. While sports was always supposed to encourage honesty, fair play, and sportsmanship, the scandals that keep tumbling out of the box, have left the fans disillusioned. The corruption in the administration of sports have become such a routine affair, that we have now accepted it, as a way of running sports, which is a clear indication of the penetration of corruption. 
 
The Sports Associations of India are so deep rooted into corruption that it is now difficult to notice even a ripple at the mention of another fraud, or under -the-table agreements. India is still not a sports developed nation, and it is hard to foresee the scenario changing, since the ethics or rather the lck of them have plagued the system, so much so that it seems beyond repair. The Board of Control Cricket in India, which today runs the cricket not only in India, but is also the most important cog in world cricket has forever been associated with corruption. The match fixing episode of the late 1990s, the agreements made between state associations and the board to push their vested interests through, and the perennial cloud over the cash rich Indian Premier League are just open secrets that have soured the game.
 
The recent FIFA episode is another example of how too much power, money and unparalleled authority whisk away morality, and plunges the game into the trenches of corruption. There have always been subdued voices over the prevailing scheme of things in FIFA, and perhaps the melting point was reached when the 2022 football world cup was awarded to Qatar. Many eyebrows were raised, accusations hurled, and comments were made. And yet  no action were taken. There are the rumours as to how Qatar, a country which does not boast of a rich football history, and has never hosted a major tournament. suddenly got the rights to host the World Cup. Also, the argument that intense heat in the country could have serious repurcussions on the players' healths, were ignored, puportedly because the members on the executive board who are responsible for handing out the rights were properly looked after. This is gross injustice to the fans, who devote their time and money to make the game what it is today.
 
Why do the authorities then forget, that any sport can only be popular if the audiences accept it gleefully and are willing to spend time and money over it? Why do they forget, that all the fans want, a good game devoid of any scandals, prejudice, and money changing hands? They want the players to display their skills which they have honed after hours, weeks and years of practice without any other external factors affecting them. Why do they also forget that the efforts if they are made to clean the game will be applauded and the credibility of the game will be further restored, and which will only help build better relationships with the audience, and have a positive effect on their revenue. Credibility is very important, and if this is lost no amount of money splashing can win back the fans, which the sport cannot afford to let happen.