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Corporates open to sponsoring other Olympic sports, but seek tax sops

Nithya Subramanian
Richa Mishra

New Delhi , Dec. 7

MARKSMAN Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, winner of the silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games, has not yet seen sponsors queuing up. But, Indian cricketers continue to be the favourite among corporate sponsors irrespective of the team performance.

The good news is that India Inc now seems to be willing to support other Olympic sports. However, it is hoping that the Government will offer some tax incentives to companies investing in sporting activities other than cricket.

The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has written to the Finance Ministry stating that the Indian industry would come forward and assist the Government in making a concerted effort to promote other sports if adequate incentives are provided to them.

"A weighted average deduction of 200 per cent may be provided to companies on the expenditure incurred on development of sports," it has said.

According to a survey conducted by the industry association, about 95 per cent of the respondents felt that private participation is necessary in nurturing, developing and sustaining sports and almost all the respondents stated that private-public partnership would help develop the overall performance of Indians in sports.

Sponsorship for sports other than cricket has been hard to come by. The Indian Olympic contingent had found it extremely difficult to find sponsors. "In fact, the Sahara Group stepped in at the last minute," said an advertising industry official. Similarly, Rathore too has not been able to get deals.

A senior adman said that the reason why corporates do not sponsor other sports is because these do not get good viewership. In fact, the Board of Control for Cricket in India gets no financial support from the Government and manages to generate more revenue than the Government's yearly allocations to all other sporting federations taken together.

Meanwhile, it is essential for other sports to receive sponsorship as India had earlier announced its intentions of bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Industry sources said that the erstwhile National Democratic Alliance Government had announced its intentions of bidding for the 2016 and it has already been decided that the 2010 Commonwealth Games would be held in the Capital.

"India could do with some corporate sponsorship. Other cities like New York, Chicago and London are already aggressively bidding for the 2012 Olympics. Those who do not get will continue to do so for the subsequent ones as well," they added.

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