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Monday, 20 May 2019

Industry Supporting Sports, But Not Much

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In India, the promotion of sports is recognised as a CSR activity. Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013, indicates a list of CSR activities, which include ‘training to promote rural sports, nationally recognised sports, paralympic sports and Olympic sports. Despite this, India’s textile industry and apparel industry are not supporting sports. 

Apparel Resources explored the balance sheet of 20 public limited textile/apparel manufacturing companies from various hubs and various levels, and out of them, only three are promoting sports as a domain. There are many reasons for the same as education is the top priority for most of the companies; expanding on sports may not give them much exposure…We explored the companies which are there, and how they are supporting games.

Reliance, Welspun and RSWM are the textile industry’s leading players as far as this issue is concerned, not only in terms of spending money but also with respect to the involvement of the top-level management. Nita M. Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation and Dipali Goenka, CEO & JMD of Welspun India Ltd., are active on various platforms including social media promoting and uplifting the players.

Sponsorship to sportswomen

With the #WelspunSuperSportsWomen, Welspun Group often shares its activities contributing to boost sports as a category. It is also promoting girls for national level swimming. Through its support, Mansi Joshi (who lost a leg in a road accident), Sanjivani Jadhav, Kashish Malik, Aarti Patil, Jyoti Patil, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu are few well-known players who won medals at various national or international levels.

“Welspun Foundation for Health & Knowledge (WFHK) provides financial assistance to women from various disciplines of sports to enable them to have a path-breaking career in sports, both nationally and internationally. Currently, we are financially supporting 10 talented girls, coming from challenging backgrounds, to build their career in sports and make India proud,” reads its annual report.

Reliance Foundation also proves its high focus on sports with its initiative ‘Sports for Development’. As per its website, “With an intention to reinforce the youth of our country with the power of sportsmanship and commemorate the birthday of Hockey legend, Dhyan Chand, Reliance Foundation celebrates August 29 as Sports Day annually in rural areas across 12 states in India… This initiative is a medium to enhance community partnership and promote traditional rural sports. Sports Day brings together more than 40,000 people every year who enjoy different games and sports. It has resulted in youth transforming into community youth leaders and serving as mentors to the village children.” Youth Sports, Young Champs, Jr. NBA Program are few other initiatives of Reliance Foundation covering millions of children across the country in different ways.

Rajasthan Spinning and Weaving Mills Ltd. (RSWM) of LNJ Bhilwara Group is a mother name of the industry which continues dedicating fund for the betterment of sports. Another company having roots in Rajasthan, Sangam India, also contributes to sports but it seems to be a one-time affair as there is no continuity of the same. It supported Rajasthan State Sports Council to promote nationally recognised sports and training.

There are more than eight textile and apparel companies or brands anyhow associated with the IPL. Similarly, some are sponsoring other sports events or teams like Pro Kabaddi League, Premier Badminton League, Indian Super League… But more or less they have their commercial angle involved in doing so rather than supporting any particular sport. Athleisurewear is still a buzz word for the textile and fashion industry and sports in India needs much more support than what it is getting right now. So is it not the best time that CSR teams of Indian textile and apparel industry proactively come forward lending their able hands to nurture sports?

Source: https://in.apparelresources.com