Co-Founder and CEO: The Football Edge
Anuj graduated from Loughborough with an MSc in Sport Management in 2010. He founded his own football company and also sits on another sports board in India. Find out more about his experiences.
I had decided almost 2 years before the program started that I would do the MSc Sport Management at Loughborough University because of the course rating and the University rating for Sports Studies.
The year spent at Loughborough was good for me professionally as it gave me a strong academic backing and advantage in my career but more importantly it was the exposure to the professors, campus life, sports facilities, research, and the other students that was inspiring.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
Yes, while you are studying it is important to do well academically but networking is also essential so that you can always reach out to someone from somewhere who is a graduate or connected to the University.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
While studying at the University I did manage to play a weekend match of hockey every week and we formed our own International Students Football Club.
The football club was very interesting as we would have many students from different nationalities coming together to play a couple of times every week. I am still in touch with many of my fellow graduates from around the world because of the connection we had through recreational sports at the University.
The course was a major amount of time spent in Loughborough the campus facilities; campus life and time spent playing sports. We also had the opportunity to go on short trips in and around Loughborough, watch a few international or national events on campus and to get together with people of so many different nationalities to play football. We sometimes played other sports too; all of my time there was a great experience that we won’t forget.
Straight after leaving Loughborough in September 2010, I joined the Indian FPAI (Football Players Association) and worked for the development and education of players about their contracts, rights and disputes. I served this role till September 2012 by which time the Indian FPAI was better organised and more professional.
In 2012 we started a company called The Football Edge comprising of well-known industry leaders from Sports, Media & Advertising in India. The company was formed to manage the professional careers and represent Indian Players, mainly comprising half of the Indian National Football team. Since then the company has expanded and is now part of the PMG Sports Group that is the first every-Sports Marketing company in India. Currently we are representing 57 players in the Indian Super League and I-League.
Being the CEO at first was daunting as Sport is a new emerging sector in India and football especially had no reference points to go by. We were consultants/agents for player recruitment in the Indian Super League, which started its first edition back in 2014, and it was a great learning curve dealing with Player Management of Indian Players and Foreign Players playing in India.
Now the role is much clearer. We are established as one of the leading Football & Player Management companies in India and we work much more as advisors to players on their careers rather than a marketing company. The role involves few hours in the office every day but more importantly lots of meetings at the clubs and even visits to stadiums or training pitches.
I have served on the Board at FIFPro Asia due to my attachment to the Indian FPAI. I am very interested and passionate about Football Player welfare and rights so it gives me great pleasure being able to contribute whatever I can in the limited time that we have. Wherever there is football and development concerned, I manage to make the time!
I have been interested in the management of sports, players and organising matches ever since I was in High School since about 2002-2003, so to be able to continue doing that in Football and it being a full time job is what I like the most.
I am very happy to be part of a stand out company with great reputation. We are expanding constantly in the field of International Player Management and Club Partnerships and with Football developing rapidly in India, the immediate future is to expand in the sport and bring in more professionalism.
There is no particular moment but to know that you are helping players, many of them whom come from backgrounds where they need a lot of advice - assistance and awareness is rewarding.