Football World Cup and the absense of China and India

Perhaps the real reason why China, and India have so far not produced top ranked, or any ranked football teams is because of their size. Football is not necessarily part of the cultural mainstream in both countries and at present they both have the luxury to insulate themselves from the world’s culture

Last week with hundreds of millions of my fellow humans, I watched a match of the football World Cup final rounds. There are teams representing 32 countries in these rounds: I watched the rout by Croatia over Cameroon 4-0. Croatia?

What is a country that has a bit over 4 million people doing in the World Cup? Not only Croatia, but its neighbor Bosnia and Herzegovina with a slightly smaller population is also there. How can these tiny countries compete against giants like Brazil and Mexico? How did Croatia manage to field a team that thrashed a team from a country five-times its size?

Why is one of the leading athletic powerhouses, the US, ranked 14th behind countries like Belgium and Uruguay? More to the point why aren’t the two largest countries on the planet China and India not even represented? They rank 103rd and 154th respectively. Yet Shanghai and Mumbai alone both have more people than either Belgium or Uruguay.

There is a joke in China. The Buddha tells the people he can fulfill only one of their wishes. Someone asks: “Could you lower the price of property in China so that people can afford it?” Seeing the Buddha frown in silence, the person makes another wish: “Could you make the Chinese football team qualify for a World Cup?” After a long sigh, the Buddha says: “Let's talk about property prices.”

Lord Buddha may have started to grant the first wish, but the second is still elusive. This is quite odd. Both Chinese fans and their leaders love the game. Mao Zedong played keeper. Deng Xiaoping was a life long football fanatic. China’s present leader, Xi Jinping, has three wishes. He wishes that China will first qualify for the World Cup, host a World Cup, and finally win a World Cup. Despite this high level support, Chinese football has never come close to its promise.

Since its beginnings Chinese football has been exceptionally corrupt. It started out as teams sponsored by unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of state owned enterprises. Starting in 1994 during the early reforms it attracted more investment corporate sponsorships and these generated higher salaries. But the rot started early.

Investors started to fix matches as favors for local officials. They were called “favour”, “relationship” or “tacit” matches. Then the gambling syndicates and triads moved in and began excreting influence over players, coaches, referees and even the investors.

By the early 2000, the morals of the game were so bad that sponsors began to avoid it. No one was caught because the state organization, the Chinese Football Association, responsible for investigating and punishing misdeeds was the one involved in fixing games.

As investors and sponsors withdrew, the economic growth of China increased the level of betting. So players with less pay had larger incentives to throw games. This went on until an investigation started in Singapore in 2009 led back to China. This resulted in a scandal that couldn’t be hidden. So over 20 people were arrested and punished including Nan Yong, then boss of the Chinese Football Association.

Recently Chinese football has improved thanks to money from developers. Owners of 13 of the 16 clubs in the Chinese Super League are either developers or have big property interests. The developers have poured money into their teams increasing salaries. This lowers the incentives for players to take bribes. They have also hired former stars to raise standard. One, Evergrande, the owner of the Guangzhou club, has even built a enormous football academy with 2500 students and 50 football pitches.

Corruption is a real problem in China, but the real issue is the failure to encourage children to play the game. Between 1990 and 2000 more than 600,000 teenagers played the sport. By 2011 that number had fallen to little more than 100,000. The reasons for lack of young players are varied.

Some commentators cite the preference of Chinese parents for education rather than sport as a way to advance. To an extent this is true. Often the best players are from poor backgrounds. Professional football players start at age 13. In most of the world it is a working class game. Without a large pool of potential players, China has developed a few stars, but not the depth. Players get better because the guy on the bench is almost as good.

In India at least the clubs are looking for the poorest. The Pune club busses in orphans and slum kids to watch the games. They are a welcome addition to the few thousand paying fans. However, despite having 131 million fans of international football, it will be hard for the clubs to outdo the national obsession with cricket.

The US has a different obsession, American football. In February ,the country comes to a stop as 111 million Americans sit down on a Sunday to watch the championship game, known as the Super Bowl. In contrast, only 24.3 million Americans watched the 2010 World Cup a record, but a small fraction of the billion viewers worldwide.

It is common wisdom that the US is not a football powerhouse. This is incorrect. Actually it is, just not men’s football. Its women’s team is ranked number 1. In the past six World Cups, the women’s team has won it twice and has never been out of the top three.

Demography is what is really changing American Football. Originally a middle class sport, it has changed as the result of a 43% rise in Hispanics. Many of these Americans are from such football mad countries as Mexico and Central America. This fast growing market is the target of just about every US business, which has brought the dollars to the game. The result is that top league, Major League Soccer (football to you), has an average attendance of 18,600 per game ahead of both the Basketball and Ice Hockey Leagues. Where attendance and advertisers go, television is not far behind.

But perhaps the real reason why China, and India have so far not produced top ranked, (or any ranked) teams is because of their size. Football is not necessarily part of the cultural mainstream in both countries. It is adopted because small countries have little choice but to be aware of the world. They do not have the luxury to insulate themselves from the world’s culture. Globalisation intrudes from the foods they eat to the television they watch. In time this will change even in giants like India and China, but perhaps not for at least another World Cup.

(William Gamble is president of Emerging Market Strategies. An international lawyer and economist, he developed his theories beginning with his first-hand experience and business dealings in the Russia starting in 1993. Mr Gamble holds two graduate law degrees. He was educated at Institute D'Etudes Politique, Trinity College, University of Miami School of Law, and University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He was a member of the bar in three states, over four different federal courts and speaks four languages.)



Mahesh S Bhatt

3 years ago

Sir respect your comments but Sepp Blatter with 17 years at FIFA Head has been branded corrupt by many Sr successful footballers including Maradona.Qatar winning Football bid is also being suspect of corruption.Olympics is also the same with corruption+ politics.

Sad thing is that IPL is great illegal machine for Business/Polictics to cash on.

So why blame China/India when it has all started from USA/UK/Europe.Let's have great depression for correction with correct Value Systems for Holistic Health Wealth(

China has great Table Tennis /Badminton records better than Lawn Tennis which is popular /richer in West but the fact is Badminton/TT are more aggressive/fast but with less money.So let's forget about Sports its another big black hole to fool innocent honest athletic individuals & make business out of the same.Even God also can't bless such Heads of Sports/Polictics.Amen Mahesh

shadi katyal

3 years ago

One can talk of many excuses but the fact is that we as a nation has no policy toward any athletic sports. The nation is not only poor but physically we cannot last so long. We will deny this but look at the players of other nations and show us few who can fit there.
Secondly we were kicked out of Olympics and I( am not sure if we are allowed to join the international Forum and it was due to our trying to dictate IOC how to run local boards. India is not member of FIFA.
With 1.2 Billions and have nothing to boast about when it comes to such games

How to win your case in Consumer Court

Although the goverment advertisement says Jago Grahak Jago, when it comes to taking up the fight before a consumer court, the buyer finds it difficult to spend time and money. Some consumers do not even preserve all the vital evidences

Each and every one of us is part of the consumption cycle in one way or another. Our daily lives consist of consumer activities which we take for granted. On the one hand, where there is a consumer, on the other side there is the provider of the product or services that we use. On the 21st of June 2014, for Moneylife Foundation's event titled “How to Win Your Case in Consumer Court”, we invited Consumer Activist Jehangir Gai to share his experience and knowledge with our audience. His focus was on the right way to go about fighting a case in the consumer courts and being able to win your day.

“Buyers are often unaware of their rights as a consumer and bad products or services are thought of as unavoidable. Even if they decides to approaches the consumer court, many of them lose their zist to fight as the case may take one to three years and sometimes they simply give up midway. In addition, several times, consumers are found to have no proper evidence or documents to support their cases,” he said.

Mr Gai said, a buyer who wish to approach the consumer court, needs to build his evidences. Like he must note down the complaint number (docket) and time, job number and job cards as well as copies of correspondence with the concerned product seller/manufacturer or service provider. Even if you do not need to approach a consumer court, it is always better to preserve all the bills, payment receipts, warranty cards and servicing records, he added.

Clarifying on the definition of consumer, he said, “The ambit of what defines a consumer is not merely one who buys, but also anyone who uses the product or service with approval from the buyer. However, a product bought for commercial purpose does not classify as a consumer product.”

Another important criteria to decide whether you are a consumer is the payment, Mr Gai said, adding, “Free services are excluded from the definitions of Consumer Act, however the Supreme Court has held that in the specific fase of hospitals, which have paid patients and free patients, the free patients become deemed consumers. The final exclusion being as a result of the distinction between agreements of personal service (eg. Employer-employee relationship) and agreement for personal service (which is professional, prividing service as a professional). The former is excluded from the ambit to consumer law.”

Mr Gai explained that the consumer has a right to redressal in cases that may involve goods, services, hospitals, holidays and even investments. His expertise is a result of being involved with consumer organisations all the way since 1984-85. This was before the Consumer Protection Act was even passed.

In addition, fighting a case in consumer court consumes both time and money. Earlier, cases in consumer courts used to get resolved in three-six months. However, nowadays it may take one to three years. This is one of the reasons, why not many consumers are willing to approach the consumer courts or even leave their case mid-way. According to Mr Gai, during 1999, there were about 1,500 cases filed in the Mumbai Suburban Consumer Forum, which has come down to just 500 in 2013.

“An awakened consumer is an enlightened consumers and often an enlightened consumer becomes a frustrated consumer (after approaching comsumer forum),” Mr Gai said.

Over the years, Mr Gai has also addressed issues of what constitues “Consumer Protection”, for example, the term “commercial purpose” that is not defined in the law.
This leaves room for differing interpretations by different presiding officers.

Most consumers are unaware that in consumer issues, there are three strata of consumer courts that can be approached depending upon the monetary value of the consumer's grievance. Mr Gai explained that if a dispute involves monies upto Rs20 lakh, then this falls under the jurisdiction of the District Consumer Forum. If the dispute involves monetary value above Rs20 lakh but below Rs1 crore, then the State Consumer Commission can take up the case. Finally, if your dispute is in excess of Rs1 crore, the consumer has to approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). That said, every case decided at the District Forums or State Commissions can be appealed at the higher levels.

Going by the number of people in the audience, it is safe to say that many people face problems in resolving their issues and grievances. It is important for the consumer to address any problem with a service provider with prompt action. This is especially important considering that the admissibility of a consumer complaint in court has a lapse period, and the consumer may be left in the cold if he enters litigation too late. Mr Gai took on questions from the audience and resolved specific queries relating to people's issues.



Bapoo Malcolm

3 years ago

There are complaints against almost all professionals. Doctors are also derided, usually for the fees they charge. Why not keep them out of hospitals?

And chartered accounts out of audits. Umpires out of matches. Judges out of courts. Dons and bhais can settle matters for you.

Why keep engineers to build bridges? And architects to erect buildings? Teachers out of schools. Journalists out of news.

We are there for each other.


Prakash Basrur

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 3 years ago

Three Cheers for Bapu Malcolm for being frank and clear in his opinions ! Unfortunately Bapoo ( sorry ! Not Gandhiji in this case !)the more one gets transperent in exposing the reality the more the issues get complex and the reader and the consumer get disillusioned !

Chandran Kochappan

3 years ago

The Consumer forums are the lawyers paradise, as one Advocate rightly put it! The most important reform that needs to be executed is to ensure that the lawyers are kept out of the perview of Consumer Forums. The lawyers appearing for the consumer and the service providers join hands to go on postponing the hearing for one or two years or beyond!

The service provider and the trader should be directly accountable against the claim of a consumer so that undue delay could be avoided.

Vallarpadom PO
Cochin 682502


Bapoo Malcolm

In Reply to Chandran Kochappan 3 years ago

Attn: Chandran Kochappan,

As a lawyer, I find your observation offensive, if not libellous. People often lose cases because they are in the wrong, but do not wish to admit it. After all, filing cases is not that expensive. Courts get clogged with frivolous litigation, especially bogus PILs.

Please read Moneylife's post today. It deals with such actions, but the government is not the only culprit. In a recent Moneylife seminar, the fact that a vast majority of cases is filed by crooked persons was highlighted.

Had to leave Gai's address early but wanted to narrate an incident in the Consumer Court last Monday.
A person, appearing without an advocate made such a hash of his complaint that even the judge felt sorry for him, going to the extent of asking him how an educated person could do what the complainant had done.

If you are ever in Bombay, can show you winning orders obtained on day one. Often the complaining side, the plaintiffs, realising that they have a bad case, delay matters, putting defendants to great hardship. But if a lawyer wants, he can speed up matters. So, please find a capable person to help you. You may have had bad experiences.

Bapoo M. Malcolm,
Advocate, Bombay High Court, I 7809

Sensex, Nifty unlikely to make a major move -Weekly closing report

Nifty has to hold above 7,470 for it to make efforts to move up

The S&P BSE 30-share Sensex closed the week that ended on 20th June at 25,106 (down 123 points or 0.49%), while the NSE’s 50-share Nifty closed at 7,511 (down 31 points or 0.41%) for the week. We had mentioned in our previous week’s report that the Indian indices may suffer further weakness. This entire week witnessed the indices moving lower except for gains made on Tuesday.

Market sentiments in India were affected with the rising crude oil price and consequent effect of it on the current account deficit (CAD) of the country. The annual rate of inflation based on the monthly wholesale price index (WPI) accelerated to 6.01% (provisional) for May 2014, from 5.2% in April according to the data released by the government said on Monday. The WPI inflation for March 2014 was revised upwards to 6%, from 5.7% reported earlier. Nifty closed at 7,534 (down 9 points or 0.11%) on Monday.

Ahead of the Fed meet, the indices back home witnessed a sideways move for most of the session on Tuesday however, a sudden rise in the last hour made the index close in the positive covering up most of the losses of the previous two trading session. Nifty closed at 7,632 (up 98 points or 1.30%).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its growth forecast (2% in 2014 down from an April estimate of 2.8%) for the US economy this year and said the Fed may have scope to keep interest rates at zero for longer than investors expect. The IMF left a 2015 prediction unchanged at 3%, and said it doesn't expect the US to see full employment until the end of 2017, amid low inflation.

Taking into consideration the rising inflation the current government unveiled some anti-inflationary measures. The effort to remain in the green was washed off when the Nifty was pulled suddenly in the red at the beginning of the afternoon session after which it remained there till the end of the session. Nifty closed at 7,558 (down 74 points or 0.96%) on Wednesday.

In spite of the positive cues from the US, the market back home didn’t react much to it.
Nifty closed at 7,541 (down 18 points or 0.23%) on Thursday. The highlight of the day was SEBI's Board announcing new norms for public shareholding for all listed companies including PSUs, ESOP scheme, offer for sale -OFS mechanism as well as research analysts.

After a two-day policy meeting the Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that she foresees interest rates to stay low for a considerable time, not specifying the timetable for the same, after the buying ends.

On Friday, the market witnessed a range bound session and ultimately the indices closed in the negative for the third consecutive session. Nifty closed at 7,511 (down 29 points or 0.39%). India's Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said that there is no disruption in supply of crude oil from Iraq to India so far. However the state-run oil marketing companies have been asked by the Ministry to prepare a contingency plan both for the short and medium term including diversification of their resources for import of crude oil in order to minimise the impact of any geo-political instability in the middle-east.

For the week, among the other indices on the NSE, the top two performers were Media (3%) and IT (3%) while the worst two performers were Energy (2%) and Auto (2%).

Among the Nifty stocks, the top five stocks for the week were G A I L (6%); Asian Paints (5%); Infosys (4%); Tata Consultancy Services (4%) and IndusInd Bank (4%) while the top five losers were Mahindra & Mahindra (7%); Reliance Industries (4%); United Spirits (4%); BPCL (3%) and Hero MotoCorp (3%).

Of the 1,468 companies on the NSE, 698 companies closed in the green, 750 companies closed in the red while 20 companies closed flat.

Out of the 27 main sectors tracked by Moneylife, top five and the bottom five sectors for this week were:

ML Top sector


ML Worst sector


Farm & Farm Inputs




Software & It Services




Telecom Services














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