Describing the IPL spot-fixing scandal as unfortunate, former India football captain Baichung Bhutia said betting should be legalised in the country to stop corruption in cricket.
“In Europe betting is legalised and you don’t come across such scams everyday in football like you get to see it in cricket. I think legalising would make it better,” Bhutia told reporters on the sidelines of a Football Players Association of India event here last night.
“It is unfortunate. Players shouldn’t be greedy. I think it was unnecessary. Just because of a few players you can’t say the entire game is bad or the sport of cricket is bad. Only few players do it. The game is bigger than any player,” he added.
Three cricketers, including India pacer S Sreesanth, have been arrested along with several bookies with underworld connections in the IPL spot-fixing scandal that has severely dented cricket’s image in the country.
Back on the subject of football and the All India Football Federation’s proposed franchise-based tournament in January next year, Bhutia said, “It’s very early to say. There will be little bit of hype with international football players coming and few more investors coming to the sport.
“It can only motivate youngsters to make a good career out of the sport. It’s going to be a World Cup of sorts.”
AIFF will conduct the tournament in collaboration with IMG-Reliance, which will be the marketing partner for the IPL-style league.
Bhutia was recently named as the chairman of AIFF’s technical committee and the panel is focusing on youth development.
“I have been made the technical head. We will try to focus on youth development and infrastructural development is also important. So definitely more academies would come up,” he said.
The former skipper, who holds record of 42 goals from 107 appearances in the national jersey, said the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) helps players who are struggling financially. He said the association will also educate players on simulation.
“This year we want to start a campaign on racial awareness and play acting, because it is one aspect that does affect the game.
“We had not focused on play acting till now and that is why it’s a big challenge for FPAI to make sure we educate the players for the betterment of the game and play it in true manner,” he said.