KATHMANDU, May 14: With Martyr´s Memorial Redbull A Division Football League and Pepsi Standard Chartered National One-Day Cricket Tournament taking place in Kathmandu, the news of sponsorship deals were obvious.
Patan´s premier football club Three Star Club continues to lead the sponsorship race, signing the biggest deal worth Rs. 1.76 million per year with Mega Bank. The spate of sponsorship deals reaffirmed football´s love affairs with sponsors.
Until recently, cricket was lagging behind in sponsorship compared to football. But the sport with biggest potential is moving ahead too. Five among the 10 national level cricket teams have sponsors now.
While APF Club and Region No 2 Birgunj found sponsors on their own, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) convinced some companies to sponsor three other regional teams.
While the sponsorship amounts received by cricket teams may seem meager compared to what has been offered to football clubs, nevertheless, the sport has got a start and things are bound to improve if the people in authority don´t act silly.
Sponsors of football seem to be satisfied with what they have achieved with the deals. It is not unusual, however, for sports journalists to hear complaints from sponsors of cricket of ´lack of enough exposure ´ by CAN and that ´they sponsor cricket only as a sport with big potential´.
CAN and cricket teams, therefore, need to work out with sponsors to end the situation to generate spontaneous interest for sponsorship among companies.
CAN also needs to develop guidelines for signing sponsorship deals, including standard sponsorship promotion details, to avoid conflict of interest.
The sponsorship controversy relating to Region No 1 Biratnagar surfaced evidently because of the lack of guidelines. The incidence proved how some people may exploit the void for their benefits.
Aamir Akhtar, a former national cricketer-turned-critic of CAN, announced that he had signed a sponsorship deal with Biratnagar through a press conference which was not attended by any official of the benificiary team.
Call it an immaturity of Nepali media, Akhtar´s announcement that the sponsors would pay Rs 1,000 to every player for every match they played made big news, only to be denied later by the Biratnagar team. Akhtar, yet again, accused CAN of foul play.
Any person or company can choose to pay a cricketer or a group of cricketers any amount as endorsements or support. Signing a sponsorship, however, doesn´t give the sponsor the right to decide how exactly the money is spent.
They can suggest but not rule. In case of Biratnagar, it´s up to the regional cricket development committee to sign a deal and decide how the money is to be used. Akhtar´s deal from early stage looked ill-intended, and if his accusation of CAN coming in between is true, it was a necessary intervention.
The whole episode should be a lesson to CAN and they should prepare guidelines at the earliest to protect interests of sponsor companies´ and theirs.
Yet another cricket controversy
It seems controversies will never leave cricket alone. The final of the One-Day National will take place on Saturday between two police teams -- the APF Club and the Nepal Police Club. Since both the teams have enlisted the cream among the players, it is no surprise that they reached the final. But it was quite surprising that the organizing committee failed to be fair with other teams.
On Thursday, the match between APF and Region No 4 Bhairahawa was played on ground that was rendered unsuitable due to overnight rainfall.
Two captains agreed to play as both had a chance to reach the final. Region No 7 Janakpur would have made to the final if the match was called off.
Although the match taking place is a positive thing in itself, Janakpur raised a couple of valid questions. Why were the APF personnel allowed to work on the field for the match? If they were available why were they not used on other days when matches were delayed due to wet field? Janakpur has even accused umpires of unfair judgment during the whole episode.
While the final match should go on as scheduled, CAN needs to hold talks with Janakpur and form a probe committee to look into the episode. If the committee finds any unfair judgment, Janakpur should be compensated and action