Appeal from the BFI executive committeeJune 9, 2015
We all know that India has the highest number of registered players from our zone (Zone IV – BFAME) with nearly 6000 players listed through state associations who participate in the state, zonal and national events and lakhs of non registered players playing social bridge at various clubs and at home.
As with all sports (apart from the very big ones) in India, Bridge is driven by individuals who are willing to contribute their time, effort and money for the love of the game. While there are few benefactors who are able to provide sizeable amounts, the success and growth of bridge in India has relied on a series of small contributions from numerous individuals. There are a number of office bearers of State and district associations who are spending out of their own pockets or seeking assistance from friends and family for the cause of Bridge. Many others have helped organize and run tournaments, even if it meant a loss of pay for those days.
A small fraternity like ours is reliant on the voluntary efforts of individual players who embrace a sense of responsibility to the sport and see how they can assist in improving things. Passively expecting that sponsors or even office-bearers themselves will make all necessary financial arrangements is not a sustainable way forward. To ensure that Bridge grows in India we need two things – people with the right mindset to work for the game and the funds necessary to support the efforts.
The idea is to raise sufficient funds which can be directed towards positive actions to grow the game. I believe strongly that funds raised must be put back into the game (in the form of equipment, facilities, training, tournaments etc) rather than letting it sit idle. This will bear fruit in the long run as the number of active players grows, especially in areas such as Junior Bridge.
When I took on the responsibility of the BFI Presidency, there were about Rs. 30 Lakhs in funds. Over the past 4 years, we have managed to grow this by around 15-20% while expanding the number of annual activities (Winter and Summer Nationals, Interstate Championships, Masters, Director Training, Junior Promotion and so on). This gave me the confidence to go ahead and bid to bring the World Championships to India. We have been working on this for nearly 2 years starting with guidance from Shri Subash Gupta and strong support from Sri Sunit Chokshi. This support helped me in convincing the rest of the BFI ExCo that this was the right time for us to bring this event to India, while acknowledging that it was going to be a challenging endeavour.
The next step was dealing with the WBF and here again I had a lot of support from a number of people like Sri Prasad Keni, Sri Kawaljit Singh, Sri Sudhir Agarwal and Smt. Kiran Nadar. I would also like to thank Nirmal Rajagopalan, son of our Treasurer, Sri. R. Rajagopal who travelled with me to Dallas at his own expense and made a presentation to the WBF Council during a 2 hour meeting to convince them and address all their queries about India and Chennai being able to host the event.
I would like to thank Smt. Kiran Nadar again for acceding to our request to support the Championship as Title Sponsor. Signing the contract with HCL in April 2014 gave us a lot of motivation to work hard and reach out to other Corporates, Senior Government officials and others who are also Bridge players. The Tamil Nadu Bridge Association has been supporting our fund raising efforts with the TN State government as well.
The overall budget for the event is over Rs. 12 Crores of which we have managed to raise just over Rs. 5 Crores as of today. We have commitments for more funds and are looking at every possible avenue to also trim our budget and ensure that substantial savings are achieved along the way.
A number of people in the Bridge community have promised to support the tournament. For instance, Sri Mahesh Gupta from Kent promised Rs 10 lakhs even though he doesn’t come to participate very regularly and I thank him whole heartedly for that. I have made appeals with State Associations and senior bridge players at various levels to raise funds from within the fraternity. We have seen limited success in Tamil Nadu with Sri S Srinivasan contributing Rs. 1 Lakh, Madras Alumni Club with Rs. 65,000 (and counting), Sri. V. Ramkumar with Rs. 25,000, Sri and Smt. Hari with Rs. 5,000 and Smt. Sushila Natraj with Rs. 5,000. From West Bengal we have Sri Debasish Ray with Rs. 10,000 and Sri SK Anand with Rs. 5,000.
I would love to meet with each of you in person and seek your support, but even with our committee, we are limited in the number of persons we can reach out to personally. I appeal to each one of our players to make a contribution, however large or small, to help the BFI as we look to put India on the Bridge world map and host a successful championship.
Contributions to the BFI can be made by NEFT or bank transfer directly to the following account:
Bridge Federation of India
State Bank of Mysore, Abhiramapuram Branch, Chennai
Account Number – 64142031699
IFSC Code – SBMY0040203
By cheque or Demand Draft (payable in Chennai) drawn in favour of “Bridge Federation of India” and sent to the following address:
28 4th Main Road
R.A. Puram, Chennai – 600028
Once a transfer is made, cheque deposited or sent via post, kindly send an email to [email protected] with the details of the payment. This will help ensure that the payment is recorded correctly and enable sending of a scanned receipt via email to you as well. Please note that the BFI is registered under Section 80g with the Income Tax Department and your receipt will reflect the same. All of your contributions will be updated on our website as well.
I hope that strength and commitment of our community will come through in this effort. Let us all try and hope to do our best.