Meet The First Indian Selected to Study Sports Ethics From The EU

Abhishek Deshpande


The field of sports and athletics has seen its fair share of challenges since the past years. The unforgettable incidents include charges of corruption, conspiracy and cheating in the infamous 2010 Commonwealth Games scam in India as well as the FIFA scandal which got several top executives indicted from the football world’s governing body in 2015. Such instances have brought about the conversation surrounding ethics in sports governance.

Responding to this crisis in the sporting world, a consortium of six universities in the European Union (EU) have come together to form the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Sports Ethics and Integrity (MAiSI).

Becoming the first Indian ( and Puneite ) Abhishek Deshpande has been selected for this prestigious course which is only being offered currently by the EU.

“India has been ranking third for the past three years according to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) doping charts. Doping and the use of performance enhancing drugs are a huge problem along with issues like illegal betting. This doesn’t include any of the legal gambling establishments or companies that aid people that like to legally bet on various sports such as The Footy Tipster and others that can help sports betters profit a little more from specific betting options.

“Ethics are more of an individualistic effort than an organisational effort. Education plays a huge part in this. I have earlier done my research on the Claudia Pechstein doping case. Sports integrity is really the need of the hour. We need more sports administrators who overlook the functioning of sports in the country. It’s the first of its kind to create a new profession that has sports integrity officers who will look into these issues,” says the 26-year-old who had earlier completed his Masters in Sports Administration from Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) in Sochi, Russia where the Winter Olympics took place in 2014.

Deshpande at the International Olympic Academy, holding the Olympic torch

Speaking of his experience at Sochi, Deshpande says, “The environment out there is very different. The professors were from different parts of the world and included those who have played a huge role in the Olympic movement. Sochi is an Olympic city. It was a brilliant experience especially when you get to know people from the industry. One of our professors was from Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the other professor was on the ethics board of WADA.”

Throughout the two years of the MAiSI programme, Deshpande will be introduced to various subjects like gender, transgender and homophobic issues in sports, financial fair play, sustainability and legacy of sporting events, as well as ability, disability and athlete integrity. The course will be spread out in different universities around countries like Wales, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Greece.

Although not a sportsperson, this young researcher, just like every Indian, is a big cricket fan and is also a part of city-based mountaineering organisation, Giripremi. “I wish I could be a sportsperson. I’m really into, cricket, football and mountaineering. I have completed a basic course from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. It’s very close to my heart.”

Vijayta Lalwani

Vijayta Lalwani

The young lady from Lagos has always been keen on a career in journalism. Pune365 was hence the right stop. We agree.
Vijayta Lalwani