Message from Director General, FIFS – Joy Bhattacharya
Welcome to the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports family. I am delighted to announce the first edition of the official FIFS newsletter. This will drop in your inboxes, once every month and we will bring you all the updates from what’s happening in the world of fantasy sports and how our members are engaging with the gaming world.
From the autumn of 2022, FIFS will promote online gaming and fantasy sports at a national level, and we hope to work closely with the Government of India as we move towards a stable regulatory framework.
This will not be an easy journey, but we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to evangelize for the Fantasy Sports fraternity in India.
We hope you enjoy this newsletter and we are also opening up our mailboxes for you to give us suggestions about both this newsletter as well as the activities of FIFS. I look forward to your contributions.
About Federation Of Indian Fantasy Sports
The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) was founded in the year 2017, with a single-minded purpose to create a self-regulation body and promote the best practices across the Online Fantasy Sports services and contests offered in India. The purpose has always been to create high standards for the operational efficiency of the FS industry and to create universal regulations across the country. FIFS acts as the representative national body to protect the interests of Online FS contest users and operators in India and endeavors to create awareness about the sector, promote its adoption and create a conducive environment for the growth of the industry at large.
FIFS aims to create a thriving ecosystem for the Fantasy Sports industry in a sustainable and fair manner that secures the interest of players and promotes the growth of OFS platforms in India by setting standardsof operation and creating a regulatory framework.
Defining Online Skill-Based Games:
FIFS is working towards developing broad and generic definition(s) of Online Skill Games that can sustain the test of time and technology.
Light touch regulatory framework:
In collaboration with stakeholders, FIFS aims to introduce a light-touch regulatory framework to enable the industry’s growth. We, at FIFS, recognize that creating an industry-led Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) has to be the preferred mode of governance to ensure complete transparency, consumer protection, and accountability. The charter, bylaws and code of ethics of these organizations shall incorporate responsible gaming, responsible advertising and consumer protection rules to ensure formats are offered in compliance with law.
Dispute resolution mechanism:
FIFS also aims to introduce a multi-tier dispute resolution mechanism on OGS to safeguard consumer interest.
FIFS aims to create a mechanism to block illegal operations that are not compliant with the due diligence requirements and code of ethics provided under the guidelines.
FIFS & Members
FIFS Welcomes Joy Bhattacharjya as The Director General
The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), India’s first and only self-regulatory industry body for fantasy sports, announced the appointment of Mr. Joy Bhattacharjya as its Director-General. In this role, Mr. Bhattacharjya oversees the functioning of the body and works with policymakers and industry stakeholders alike. Joy is a well-known figure in India’s sports & media entertainment industry and can be rightly hailed as the “Godfather of Fantasy Sports in India’. From designing India’s first ever fantasy sports game – the ‘Super Selector’ for ESPN Star Sports, to coming to onboard FIFS – it is a perfect synergy.
A. FIFS Welcomes Joy Bhattacharjya as the Director-General
The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), India’s first and only self-regulatory industry body for fantasy sports, announced the appointment of Mr. Joy Bhattacharjya as its Director-General. In this role, Mr. Bhattacharjya is overseeing the functioning of the body and working with policymakers and industry stakeholders alike. Joy is a well-known figure in India’s sports & media entertainment industry and can be rightly hailed as the “Godfather of Fantasy Sports in India’. From designing India’s first ever fantasy sports game – the ‘Super Selector’ for ESPN Star Sports, to coming onboard FIFS – it is a perfect synergy.
Joy also runs the Prime Volleyball League and is a Cricket Analyst with Cricbuzz. As the Project Director for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2017 he delivered the most attended and successful junior tournament in the history of FIFA. In his earlier roles he has held the position of the Team Director for the Kolkata Knight Riders, Head of Programming for History & National Geographic channel for South Asia and was the first Indian Head of Production at ESPN Star Sports. Joy is an avid writer, having written for the likes of TOI, India Today, BBC, The Telegraph & the Hindustan Times, has a regular quiz column with the Hindu Business Line and also writes on sport for the Economic Times.
Commenting on the appointment, Bimal Julka, Chairman of FIFS, said, “Happy to have Mr. Joy Bhattacharjya join FIFS as the Director-General. FIFS will benefit from his sports expertise and knowledge of fantasy sports.”
Talking about his appointment, Mr. Joy Bhattacharjya said, “I am elated to be a part of the next stage of development of Fantasy Sports in the country. It’s a homecoming for me in a way, from launching the Super Selector in 2000, to now leading FIFS – India’s only SRO for Fantasy Sports. I look forward to working with the FIFS members and the stakeholders at large and help FIFS identify the landscape and potential for India to be the global leader in the Fantasy Sports sector.”
FIFS Appoints Two Former Judges as Panel Members of Fantasy Sports Regulatory Authority
The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), India’s only self-regulatory body for the fantasy sports industry appointed Justice (Retd.) Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice, Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court and Justice (Retd.) G.S. Sistani, former Judge, Hon’ble Delhi High Court as panel members of Fantasy Sports Regulatory Authority (FSRA). Eminent jurist, Justice (Retd.) A.K. Sikri, former Judge, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is the Chairman of the FSRA.
B. FIFS Appoints Two Former Judges as Panel Members of Fantasy Sports Regulatory Authority
The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), India’s only self-regulatory body for the fantasy sports industry has appointed Justice (Retd.) Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice, Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court and Justice (Retd.) G.S. Sistani, former Judge, Hon’ble Delhi High Court as panel members of Fantasy Sports Regulatory Authority (FSRA). Eminent jurist, Justice (Retd.) A.K. Sikri, former Judge, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is the Chairman of the FSRA.
The FSRA is a committee of independent experts constituted by FIFS as an independent self-regulatory authority for Fantasy Sports industry in India. The FSRA is empowered to govern the regulatory aspects of the FIFS self-regulatory framework, which includes:
● Formulating and setting best practices, standards, code of ethics including responsible gaming policies for FIFS members
● Setup stringent audit mechanisms to ensure zero violations of the FIFS Charter and take appropriate action for non-compliance
● Initiate dialogues, consultations with the Government stakeholders for growth & sustenance of India’s fantasy sports industry
● Ensure effective grievance handling and consumer dispute resolution
FIFS Chairman, Mr Bimal Julka said, “Indian fantasy sports industry is at an inflection point. The extensive knowledge, collective experience and expertise of Justice (Retd.) Mudgal and Justice (Retd.) Sistani will be invaluable to lead this sunshine sector and chart the path towards its long-term growth trajectory.”
On his appointment as a FSRA panel member, Justice (Retd.) Mudgal said, “Our role will be to work as an independent regulatory body to ensure regulations, laws of India and our constitution are abided by.”
Sharing his views, the newly appointed panel member Justice (Retd.) Sistani said, “I’m delighted to join FSRA as a panel member. As far as the legal front is concerned, all the issues relating to fantasy sports are a settled matter as it has been recognised as a game of skill repeatedly in multiple judgements by various courts including Hon’ble Supreme Court of India thereby extending protection to the sunshine sector under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution bringing business certainty which is integral to the rule of law.”
FIFS has been driving industry led self regulation since 2017. Recently, FIFS also announced the appointment of Joy Bhattacharjya as the Director General. Joy is an Indian quizzer, orator, writer and sports producer. He is the former Team Director of the IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. He also served as the director for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which was conducted in India, and later as CEO of the inaugural Pro Volleyball League. Further, sports industry veterans such as Professor Ratnakar Shetty – Former BCCI Chief Administrative Officer and Mr Amrit Mathur – Former Secretary Sports Authority of India are Advisors to the FIFS Secretariat.
Mr. Santosh Smith, Director, CapitalWorld Media Services Pvt Ltd, speaks on what inspired him to start a fantasy sports company and what the future holds.
FIFS charter has helped out significantly with the guidelines, the legalities of different states and in setting up the right process for smooth functioning of
a fantasy operator which is in accordance with the legal scope.
Q) What was the inspiration for starting a fantasy sports company?
KheloFantasy Live is a part of the parent company, Capital World Media, which is largely into Outdoors, OOH, Activations & Events. Given the reach of Capital World Media, KheloFantasy seemed like a good fit / extension to utilize the media reach and relationships with other brands. One of the USPs of KheloFantasy is that apart from money based contests, it also offers branded products as winnings.
Q) How important is it to have an industry body like the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports support fantasy sport operators?
FIFS charter has helped out significantly with the guidelines, the legalities of different states and in setting up the right process for smooth functioning of a fantasy operator which is in accordance with the legal scope.
In addition to above, FIFS has helped out in building new partnerships and most importantly it has helped fantasy operators to get officially recognized on google playstore.
Q) What has your experience been so far and how do you see the industry developing?
Till date FIFS has been prompt in replying and resolving any challenges faced. Going forward we see the overall ecosystem to grow multifold in the next 2-3 years. We also foresee an increase in the participation of female contestants.
Q)What role can a regulatory organisation like the Fantasy Sports Regulatory Authority help in protecting the interests of fantasy sports operators.
At present there are still certain states in India, which are yet to allow fantasy gaming. We strongly feel that a regulatory body like FIFS can help fantasy operators get a blanket pan-india recognition.
FIFS In Media: News & Views
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