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Global issue 20

Inbox Indian football league kicks off 80 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global commonwealth network Inadequate tax legislation that lags behind business practice is one of the biggest challenges to revenue officials, the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators’ 35th Technical Conference heard. The November conference, hosted by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service, took place in Gaborone with the theme Casting the Tax Net Further. Opening the five-day event, Botswana’s Secretary of Economic and Fiscal Policy Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo underscored the importance of reviewing the fiscal regime in the extractive sector, noting the increasing contribution of the sector to the economies of many developing countries. Delegates also discussed designing an appropriate fiscal regime for the extractive industry and putting in a compliance monitoring framework. Those in attendance agreed that international standards were necessary to allow for a more effective exchange of information. The conference was attended by more than 120 delegates, mainly representing Commonwealth countries and international organisations, including the OECD and Adam Smith International. At a side event, the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia and the Seychelles Revenue Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which will see them work together on tax matters. Duncan Onduru, the association’s executive director, said that the conference had made for “a very engaging week”. India, famous for its love of cricket, has finally embraced the ‘beautiful game’ with the launch of the Indian Super League (ISL) to replace a network of mini-leagues that previously served its largest men’s football clubs. Sepp Blatter, president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), once described India as “the sleeping giant of football” – the game has a lot of grassroots support, but a low profile, compared to cricket. At the end of 2014, the new league kicked off with Atlético de Kolkata vs Mumbai City FC at the Salt Lake Stadium, which saw Atlético de Kolkata win 2-0. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted at the event as saying: “Football can conquer the world!” He watched the game alongside national celebrities, international footballers and plenty of locals, who had raced to support the opening of the games. The introduction of India’s first national football league in October 2014 has created much enthusiasm from investors and international footballers. Supporters include former footballers Luis Garcia, from Spain, and Freddie Ljungberg, from Sweden, who both came out of retirement to play for ISL teams. Peter Reid, former manager of top English teams Manchester City and Sunderland, is now managing Mumbai City FC. Many hope the upsurge in the sport’s popularity will see India’s fortunes improve on the international stage, too. The men’s national team are 158th in FIFA’s rankings, between Thailand and Puerto Rico, while the women’s team ranks 53rd – just above Paraguay. Officials talk tax in Botswana Student House marks 60th anniversary The Victoria League Student House, in Bayswater, London, has been celebrating the 60th anniversary of its opening by Princess Alice. The building – a residential house for full-time students aged 18 to 30 from any Commonwealth or former Commonwealth country – is owned by the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship, one of the oldest Commonwealth charities. To celebrate the anniversary, the League organised a bus tour in late 2014 to visit some of the buildings relevant to the history of the league and of Student House, including the old headquarters and Victoria League Servicemen’s Clubs. Trustees, staff, members and students toured central London aboard a 1962 Red Routemaster bus – the youngest passenger was 15 and the oldest 95. A light afternoon tea was put on at the Student House, culminating in the cutting of the special 60th anniversary cake by the chairman, Mr Lyn Hopkins, who himself was a resident at Student House from 1973-75. He said: “Like many residents, I learned of the Student House from a former resident. For many of the new students, it is their first time in London or even Britain. It is a safe, friendly and comfortable place where residents quickly make new friends. I still have some friends in different parts of the world who I first met there 40 years ago.” The cake was donated by the League’s Gold Coast Branch in Queensland. The Indian men’s national team are currently 158th in the FIFA rankings © Aneek Biswas CC SA 3.0


Global issue 20
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