Friday, 23 September 2011

SMFA Update: Costs

At the end of August, we reported on the launch of the controversial Steve McMahon Football Academy. In the article we quoted a fee of $1000 per child per year as reported in this newspaper article. Well, after an unexplained delay, the Academy finally opened for registration this week and the costs were revealed in all their inglory.

As expected, the fee is Rs 45,000 per child. So if a child enrolls at the youngest age possible (6) and stays for the full ten years, the cost will be Rs 450,000 ($9,145). But the annual fee is only 45,000 if you pay in one lump. You also have the option of splitting the annual payment into three amounts: 10,000/25,000/15,000. Do the maths and that's 50,000 ($1016) per year or 500,000 ($10,160) for the full ten years.

There is one final option: monthly payments of Rs 6,000. Yes, that's Rs 720,000 for the full ten years or $14,620. The average gross annual income per person in India is $441.

All of which could still arguably be a small price to pay if these kids make it as big-time professional footballers. But, realistically, what are the chances of that? Almost all of the players you see on your TV screens playing in the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and so on, will have served their apprenticeships with professional clubs; not in a private school in an industrial zone somewhere outside Delhi. Furthermore, because of the prices, the Academy will only get to see the skills of kids from the top five percent of Indian society.

None of which would be a problem if there were scholarships, a staple of any self-respecting football school. Alas, no. There are no scholarship places and no plans to add any.

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