Raising funds for sports easier now: Gopichand

Pullela Gopichand speaking at a HYSEA programme in the city on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: arrangement

A change in government policy and corporates approach to deploying CSR funds has made raising financial assistance for sports easier in the last few years, according to Chief National Badminton Coach Pullela Gopichand.

“In last four to five years, things have changed. I have been very fortunate that the [badminton] Academy had some great support from CSR. Government policy changed, which has helped sport raise money,” he told the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA) summit on corporate social responsibility here on Thursday.

The former all England Open Champion said this while recalling the struggle he underwent when he approached companies for financial assistance to set up a badminton training academy. “They would say badminton does not have the eyeballs to be a world sport and Indians can’t be champions in this sport. Cricket is the sport where we put our money on, nobody watches badminton. They would ask me to go to [those dealing in] CSR programmes who [in turn] would say girl child, education, sanitation and homes [were covered], sport does not figure.”

Mr. Gopichand said the Finance Ministry favourably considered his request for tax breaks on funding for sports though the move did not help him much. “In 2007-08 I was so disappointed with the entire journey that I said forget it and almost mortgaged my house to set up the academy,” he said, adding that then entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad believed him and gave him first ₹2 crore and then ₹3 crore for the Academy, which over the years had produced many champions, including Olympic medallists.

Mr. Gopichand, who is president of Lead India Foundation, said this while pointing out that there were several committed individuals and organisations who were pushing themselves in their chosen field of work, but unaware of how to present and market themselves. Companies and their CSR team should go and help them.

A day-long event, the HYSEA CSR SUMMIT 2021 on ‘Volunteer to make a difference’ consisted of an expo by NGOs, conference and presentation of CSR awards. The summit was an attempt to help corporate employee understand the different avenues available to volunteer and provided a platform for interaction with NGOs.

HYSEA president Bharani K Aroll said education and environment were the focus CSR areas thus far. Health and well-being got added this yearand as a result the CSR forum volunteers will focus on projects related to livelihood creation, poverty alleviation, housing, women empowerment, child development, and infrastructure creation.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:37:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/raising-funds-for-sports-easier-now-gopichand/article33629859.ece

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