Bengaluru: Mustafa Ghouse, Chief Executive Officer, JSW Sports, on Tuesday said all stakeholders are working towards a phased return to sport as he feels it is now time for the industry to plan, strategise and innovate to adapt to the realities of a post-COVID world.
Ghouse also stressed that the players of Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Capitals and Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Bengaluru FC -- both part of the JSW Sports family -- are being monitored on a regular basis by the JSW team to ensure they are managing well amid tough times.
"While the initial few weeks were spent coming to terms with this unique situation, ensuring regulations are followed, staying indoors and avoiding any travel, it is now time for the industry to plan, strategise and innovate to adapt to the realities of a post-COVID world," Ghouse said.
"Just as work-from-home, zoom calls, remote meetings and e-seminars become part of daily life, we must come together to collectively rebuild and find ways to bring back sport (also an important part of life for many), to the extent possible, amidst an uncertain future.
"Health and safety must be prioritized, but a phased return to sport is something all stakeholders are keenly working towards. We are seeing this start to happen in pockets around the world with games being played in empty stadiums, fan engagement and digital content taking center-stage and federations starting to chalk out event calendars.
"Bringing back the eyeballs would be the easiest piece of the puzzle: most people cannot wait for live sport to be back!" he added.
Talking about the immediate economic fallout from COVID-19, he said: "Yes, the industry will see an immediate economic fallout from COVID-19 with broadcasters, rights holders, leagues and most of all the human resources that keep the wheels in motion being affected.
"But this situation also brings opportunities: to innovate, to bring newer fan experiences, to reach out to more diverse groups, to prioritize athletes' physical and mental health and take sport forward. The steps being taken by a range of organizations by hosting webinars, coaching workshops and support services is a commendable case-in-point."
"Within the JSW Sports family, we are using this time to explore new strategic avenues in line with global trends to position ourselves better. At Bengaluru FC and Delhi Capitals, our teams are in close contact with players to monitor their progress and ensure they are managing well," Ghouse stated.
"At the Inspire Institute of Sport, athletes are continuing to train with restrictions and we have organized multiple sessions on nutrition, psychology, training and physiotherapy and rehabilitation for our senior athletes stuck at home or in national camps with limited opportunities to train.
"We are also leveraging our international partners to focus on staff development and making our expertise available for the broader sporting audience in India through workshops with the Sports Authority of India and partner national federations."