LaLiga: The World Football Summit (WFS) held annually in Madrid is among the largest business of sports summits held in the world. Jose Antonio Cachaza, MD, LaLiga India led a panel on “Football in India today, and what lies ahead” at the international summit, with panel members Anshul Ailawadi (Business Head — Youth & English Cluster at Viacom18), Nikhil Bardia (VP and Head of Sales, RISE Worldwide) and Vivek Sethia (Founder & CEO, India On Track).
LaLiga: The panel members discussed several topics ranging from the development of Indian football, systems and infrastructure in India to promote football, innovations in fan engagement and the future of football in India. “Football is the number 2 sport in India, in broadcast,” said Jose Antonio Cachaza on Indians’ receptivity towards football. On the beautiful game’s complementary relationship with cricket, he reflected, “You can’t talk about sports in India without talking about cricket. A question I constantly have to answer when I meet journalists in India is ‘how can football compete with cricket in India?’ and my answer is always the same. We can’t and we won’t. We will learn from cricket and we need to grow alongside cricket.”
Commenting on the progress of Indian football, Vivek Sethia said, “Before ISL was launched, the football product was very weak — the quality of players, the marketing, grassroots opportunities, the visibility and so on. With the coming of the league, there was an improvement in the overall infrastructure of football, commercial brands, the academies and grassroots set up.”
Speaking on the approach taken to build Indian football, he said, “The strong top-down approach to refurbish the Indian football landscape has brought the game to a very strong position today.”
LaLiga: World Football Summit is an international event of the football industry, where the most influential professionals meet and discuss the business of football across the globe and the future of the industry.