Saturday, April 12, 2008

Exhibition Matches : Boon or Bane for Indian Football ?

We have all dreamed of the world’s most skillful football players coming to our shores and displaying skills not known to us and now that dream is coming true but frankly are these matches worth it ?
If we look at the financial side of the story, it is extremely expensive for the organizers to organize even one friendly. Recently Tottenham Hotspur expressed an interest to play a friendly at the Salt Lake Stadium against East Bengal. That deal is as good as blown as nobody was willing to foot the bill.
What came to light was that the price demanded by a relatively second rung team like the Spurs was around 500,000 Pounds (plus The cost of Accommodation and Travel) which by no stretch of imagination is a small amount. The other friendly is the much hyped Bayern Munich-Mohun Bagan game which will set Bengal Peerless back by a hefty amount. While it’s true that it gives us an opportunity to see our heroes live and that there is a sudden spurt in the popularity of football but then the question is : How do these games help the overall image of football in our country.
This money could have been put to better use. It could help organize international friendlies where our national team gets a chance to test themselves against a slightly stronger opposition. It will also give our team a chance to improve it’s rankings. We all know how our U-16 team defeated Asian giants away from home to qualify for the AFC U-16 Championship.
This money could have been used to help them prepare for that tournament by organizing friendlies and training stints etc.
Boon or Bane ??? You decide.

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