As sporting events are slowly restarting and trainings have commenced across the globe, the sporting fraternity back home in India is patiently waiting for necessary permissions from the ministry and for the covid situation to ease.
The current situation has had an impact on everything related to sports, be it sportspersons, organisers, coaches to support staff.
Speaking to Puneinsight, Jehan Kothary who is based in Pune, is India’s first FIFA Licensed Player Agent. He is also a Sports Consultant and a Sports Management Professional.
Jehan spoke on how the lockdown has affected the sporting fraternity during the lockdown period.
“Being aware of what is happening around the world and in India, I sincerely hope that there will be a change in the current situation and we come up with solutions to defeat the COVID19 virus. It no doubt is a very hard time and all of us are sailing in the same boat with work and business taking a hit. It was unfortunate that we had to be in a lockdown situation because of an adversity and now will be a long struggle to stabilize” Jehan informed.
Throwing some light on how the lockdown has affected sports in general, Jehan said “As you can see, all around the world sports activities like leagues and tournaments were either suspended or cancelled. The ISL concluded just before the lockdown was put in place but the IPL has suffered. Cancellation and postponement of sports events and tournaments have led to a lot of adverse economic impact. Professional players have been asked to defer or cut down salaries.”
Adding further he said “A lot of people associated with sports are in a precarious situation. As a sports management professional and consultant myself, I am assuming that many freelancers or sports professionals who work in the sports have taken a hit as there is no work currently in the sports events and allied industry. I think these are the people who might have been affected the most probably. Also there are so many service providers for sports events and activities who would have also suffered as they will are out of work. We really don’t know when the situation would improve and when permissions for sports events to resume would be given by the government.”
Jehan is the first FIFA Player agent in India. When quizzed about his journey, Jehan said “In 2010, I became India’s first FIFA Player Agent and was one till 2015 when FIFA stopped governing player agents and that came under purview of the national football federations. From the beginning of my sports career I have been doing varied work and the player agency division is one part of it. It has been a good journey and I can’t complain. I have worked with a lot of foreign coaches and players and Indian players. Currently, I work with Erik Partaalu who I represent and got him to Bengaluru FC. He has been playing really well and just signed a two-year extension. For me, he has been one of the most consistent players in the ISL and I am proud to work with him.”
Throwing some light on his sports management firms Jehan said “I own 2 firms KSMN Sports and SPORTSCONNECT. Under KSMN Sports I do the player representation, professional sports event management and sports/football consulting work. At SPORTSCONNECT we focus more on sports infrastructure development and grassroots sports. We organise sports events for school and youth. We also run a football coaching center in Pune. In May 2020 we were scheduled to organise a football coaching camp for children at Blackburn Rovers FC but had to cancel it due to the coronavirus crisis. Once things settle down we will resume our football coaching and plan to expand it multiple venues in multiple cities. My highlight has been managing the Blackburn Rovers FC vs Pune FC friendly match in Pune. It was the first time an English Premier League club played in India.”
Pune is now the city that has a lot of artificial turfs. When asked about how is the turf business doing, Jehan said “We provide turnkey solutions for setting up of artificial and natural turf football fields, tennis courts, multisport courts, running tracks, basically all sports surfaces and grounds. In 2014 the artificial turf football field we built at DSK Dream City in Pune was the biggest football field in Asia at that time. Other than the services that we provide we have also partnered in setting up and operating a 5-a-side football facility in Mumbai called Tigerplay. We are looking at setting up more sports venues.”