“Footieculture” from Bengalluru is another paradise for football lovers #iamfootie

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Nothing is constant. With time everything changes, for better or worse is not certain. We have to adapt, go with the flow, and sometimes things start flowing in the right direction. The change I am talking about here is a change of sport. In our country, cricket has been the biggest, most popular sport, period!! It is in every sense a beautiful sport, but does that mean we ignore the other sports? Absolutely not, and that is what we are doing now. Our generation respects all sports, and now is following football more than ever.

Footieculture is one such company whose dream is to make this sport a household passion. Let’s see what they are all about. Footieculture dreams of establishing football among the premier national sports of India. Their goal is to create and develop the culture of football right from the grassroots level and taking it forward to people of all ages, Footieculture aims to provide a holistic platform for all footballers. The one stop shop for all things football, to create platforms through tournaments and events, and developing talent in their football academy and camps, to offering consultancy services. Footieculture aims to cover the entire spectrum of football needs and deliver the complete football experience. They organise some of the biggest tournaments for corporates as well. Foot and Tie is one such tournament which is quite a sensation in Bengaluru. What they have realised is that they need to start scouting talent at the school level, and they are doing it well.

While we try to create popularity, we need to get all the elements. To make a sport popular, not only do you need talented players, you also need an interested audience. Footieculture does not only groom young players or organizes tournaments, they also screen live games. You may have the best player in the world but what’s the point if you can’t showcase his/her talent. Screening matches not only helps you get an audience, it also spreads awareness of the game. It’s easier to gain interest when you understand what’s going on. I believe this a good move by them to increase viewership for the sport.

Grass root training is of absolute importance. Footieculture have tapped that base. They are one of the biggest organizers of 5 a side and 11 a side tournaments in India, and in South East Asia for the former. That is an amazing feat. Till the time we don’t start training the kids from an early age, that level of quality will always lack.

Why do you think leagues in Europe and South America are superior than us? Of course they do spend a lot of money on infrastructure, which has to be done. But it’s mainly because they start preparing their youth from an early age, not like the kids there are born footballers!! Look at it this way; we are so much better at Cricket than European countries, even the USA and almost everyone else. That is not because we give birth to gifted cricketers, we make sure they start early, we provide them the necessary tools and equipment’s. That is the kind of approach we need to have towards football. If we can change this mind set, that day is not far when families start dreaming of having a Sunil Chhetri in their midst instead of Sachin Tendulkar. Footieculture has started on this path, and with the right steps, they will reach their goal!!fc

Here we are presenting you excerpts of conversation with  Mr. Preetham Chandra, Managing Director of Footieculture India Pvt Ltd

What was your vision behind starting Footieculture?

 When we started off the vision was to create competitive platforms for footballers across all age groups and with time get into developing talent that can perform in International conditions.

What is your unique selling point in dealing with the sport (Football)  which is popular in India but in performance we are still lagging behind?

 There is no one way to make a sports athlete. Access to infrastructure and competitive platforms is something that we believe will increase the performance of the future generations. We know that the real performance can be brought out by changing the way football is made to impact below the age group of 10. At this phase, every player will have the ability to learn quickly and adapt. To build a system to engage players and parents at that age is a time-consuming task that our team is constantly working on. For the performance to improve and to build players that last we are looking at sustained long-term development plan that will be able to yield results by U 17 world cup 2025. In the meanwhile, we will continue to build the ecosystem where all stakeholders are continuously engaged.

Where do you see the growth of your company after U-17 FIFA world cup?

 Post-U 17 World Cup we see ourselves branching out to tier two cities to spot and develop talent. Also, we are working with the Government to develop the grassroots system and impact the masses which comprises all sections of the society.We will be looking at expanding our team and add more mentors to guide us in this revolution.  We are excited to see how India as a nation is opening up to football and with U 17 world cup’s organization i believe the role of companies like Footieculture and others working towards the sport will have a lot of scope in terms of different stakeholders taking to football as a passion driven investment. With government launching plans as “Mission X1 million” and “Khelo India”, we will be looking to work with the official bodies to make an impact on the scale that we always envisioned.

What kind of changes are you expecting in football as a sport after U-17 FIFA world cup?

 With the world cup taking place, India as a nation has already declared themselves to FIFA and the world that we are a country that will be taking football seriously. With U 17 world cup happening, the Infrastructure at the basic levels such as schools will improve cause the school developers will start using the sport as a differentiator. With this, there will be an increase in demand for infrastructure outside the school premises, which will make the government and real estate builders start catering to the demand by building more Infrastructure. As a community, if we can make this sport accessible to growing athletes we will start producing talent with time. With the increase in popularity, sponsors will start showing increased interest in investing in different segments of football. With the economic growth in the sport, football will also be seen as a serious career option in the form of professional players, coaches, referees, sports marketing and advertisement, infrastructure development and maintenance companies. With the government support lot of foreign investments will be paved way for which will help in access to resources needed to agree with India’s demand.

 Your message to all football lovers?

 The fact that the sport is impacting you in some way is a testament to the power football has. Please do continue to consume this sport and help the growth in any way possible. Something that i want to address here is the integrity towards the sport, if any of you are part of a fan following or come across an event that is encouraging football, please do take time and appreciate all the stakeholders involved in it, from the sponsors to the participants to the organizers. Everyone involved is putting an effort to facilitate this change. And all of us as football lovers, it is our duty to impact this change in a positive manner.
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Author – Varun Inamdar – MBA Sports Management – Symbiosis School of Sports Science (Pune)

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SportsGranny is a mission to define sports culture in our country which has the abundant history of sports from epic era to modern India. We have started this experimental set up to provide different insights of the sports business and industry to the readers.

The whole idea is to grow sports culture where sports are not only about playing but also about those heroes working off field to develop country through sports, bringing change to the society through it and making India a better place for sports lovers.

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