ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gaming Indian Sports

Can we rescue sports in India from the vice grip of politicians and capital?

The match-fixing saga in the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament has brought focus back on the unseemly side of India’s most popular sport. In the years since the first such case was discovered a decade and half back, cricket has changed from being the monopoly sport administered by a private and quasi-accountable entity, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), to one that has drawn in major investments from monopoly capitalists for whom it promises to generate profits and build brands. Expectedly, the sport has also degenerated from a pastime that evoked nationalist passion and genuine affection among the public, into one which is a commercial enterprise that seeks to entertain “consumers”.

These pages anticipated this degeneration following the introduction of the IPL (“Cricket, Excesses and Market Mania”, 8 March 2008). The myriad scams involving match-fixing, allegations of IPL investments being a route to launder black money, non-payment of taxes, conflict of interest featuring team owners as administrators, other forms of corruption and bribe taking, etc, are all products of this transformation. Much commentary on these has focused on what is to be done to cleanse and resuscitate cricket from the mess that the IPL has submerged itself into. What has been forgotten is the purpose of sport itself and whether this form of sport promotion has any positive role in society at all.

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