At the India Football Forum 2010 organised by SportzPower in New Delhi last month, Total Sports Asia CEO Marcus Luer came up with a controversial thesis that Indian football needs a Lalit Modi like character to take the game of football forward.
And to be honest I have been thinking on the same lines as Marcus about this. Some might say these guys are crazy, but not everything Lalit Modi has done to create Cricket's Indian Premier League is bad. Lalit Modi has created a multi-billion dollar property out of nothing. And he did it against all odds in India be it political, administration, etc.
One needs to think out of the box to create something like the IPL where sports meets big business and entertainment. India is a growing economic power house with money available for investment and sports is entertainment these days, this is how you attract the masses. But the money needs to be for projects which show return of investment or considerable brand value. And that is what the IPL has been able to create.
But would the football authorities allow this to happen?
I don't think that we need an IPL-style football league, we should rather concentrate on further developing the I-League. We have a base here with a strong foundation, but now the building has to come up in such a way that it becomes self-sustainable.
But as written in an earlier write-up we need a focus project towards which all our efforts are concentrated. And that could be a bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. And such a bid would need a charismatic leader, someone well connected in India, but especially abroad.
So who could be the Lalit Modi kind of character, who is bold enough to fight his ideas through a system which is unwilling to change. I don't want to mention any names as it would be unfair on those guys, some of them being personal friends of mine. But there are these people and they need to come forward and take up the responsibility of building a better future for football in India.
If we in the end don't find a Lalit Modi like character maybe Lalit Modi himself would be interested to shift his focus from cricket to football. In cricket circles he seems to be unwanted these days that might be the chance for football to get him on board for projects like the above mentioned.
Mr. Modi are you listening? And are you interested?