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Interview with Arunava Chaudhuri

Aug 31, 2015 17:10

Arunava Chaudhuri was born and brought-up in Remscheid, Germany and spend five years of his schooling in the Indian city of Calcutta.

Arunava's tryst with football started in April 1998 when he founded IndianFootball.Com, a premier football site which was also India's largest website dedicated to football. Creating a niche for himself as a sports expert particularly in football, Arunava honed his skills by working in various media organizations.

The Football Mind is proud to introduce Arunava as our Adviser! 

Here are his thoughts on Football

1. How is the field of sports journalism in India as compared to Germany?

In general the sports journalism world is changing fast with the Internet and social media allowing people to test the waters in a much easier way, able to pen down their ideas for others to read, which wasn't there in the past.

In Germany the sports journalism field is different in a way that outside of football, you need to be an all-rounder in doing any of the other sports besides Germany being much smaller than India, you need to cover sports at a regional, national and international level.

In India you can be a sports journalists, who cover sports or a certain sport only in your region.

2. Tell us about your first few experiences as a journalist for a football event/club?

I got involved with the Indian national football team in 2000 with their England Tour and handled their media as in those days there was no press officer attached to the team. It was a great learning and on that tour I made friends for life.

My first big assignment in my radio internship was the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany and my first interview partner happened to be Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer.

3. When did you realize your passion for football?

I am born in Germany, so as a small kid I developed my passion for football.

4. As a journalist, how do you think you can affect the game? What role do journalists play in promoting or putting down an entity of the sport?

You reach a lot of people with your writing, so in that way you can influence opinion of the general public and sometimes also colleagues and people working within the sport. Often I feel there is a negative tone in India when writing about Indian football, which cynics will say comes with the baggage of the game in India due to its successful past.

Also in the past, sports journalist used to know a lot of things which happened within a club or team, but didn't disclose it. Nowadays with social media and other means, writers blast into the open things which should normally stay within a team or club.

5. Other than your blog and writing about football, what other streams of interaction with the game do you pursue?

Speaking about media, besides writing and blogging, I do work for television and radio. I try and watch as much live football at grounds as possible.

6. What are your views on the current state of Indian Football? Do you believe the ISL can make a huge difference?

I myself now don't want to be a cynic, but Indian football is once again at the crossroads. With the successful launch of the ISL, a lot more people know and follow Indian football, but the recent defeats of the Indian national team have brought us back to reality that India is still a small player in the beautiful game in Asia.

There is no shortcut to long-term success, so youth development will have to be the key to develop Indian football and that will take at least another seven to 10 years for us to move ahead.

The ISL has made a great start, but the ISL itself will face a lot of issues when it comes to the business of football, besides the status of the ISL viz-a-viz the I-League.

7. You have worked with some Indian Football Clubs as well as with top level Bundesliga Clubs - what are the stark differences and areas of improvement for Indian Clubs?

One word - professionalism! Germany is way ahead of not only India, but nearly the whole world when it comes to professionalism in football in organisation, structure and youth development. India can learn a lot from Germany.

8. Do you realistically feel that in the coming 15 years India can put up a strong football team that can compete in the World Cup?

It depends on what I said earlier, youth development is the key. Another issue which I have been pushing for over 15 years, allowing Player of Indian Origin holding Overseas Citizen of India cards to represent the country in international football. This would sure fasttrack our Team India development, but that decision to change the regulations need to be taken by the Government of India.

9. Your message to aspiring Sports Journalists in India

Start writing, its never been so easy to get your writings out in public through social media and blogs, but understand the game you cover. Saying I am a fan and I like to write to me isn't the right attitude. Once you understand the game, the system and what all happens around it, then you will also be a better writer.

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