Vidushpat Singhania is presently the Managing Partner at Krida Legal. Krida Legal is a law firm founded in July 2014, which specializes in sports, entertainment and gaming laws. It is based out of New Delhi.

It is safe to say that Vidushpat Singhania is an authority in sports and gaming laws in India and has co-authored the book titled ‘Law and Sports in India’ in 2010, with the second edition being published in 2016.

Other activities that have been undertaken by him are:

  • Member, Regulatory Commission Indian Super League;
  • Member-Committee drafting the National Sports Development Bill;
  • Member- Committee drafting the National Sports Fraud Bill;
  • Special Invitee- Committee drafting the National Sports Development Code of India 2016;
  • Governing Council Member-Sports Authority of India;
  • Consultant to UK-India Business Council’s Gaming and Leisure desk;
  • Secretary, IPL Probe Committee appointed by the Supreme Court of India;
  • Representing football clubs before licensing committee;
  • Representing athletes/federations in Anti-Doping hearings;
  • Advising companies on betting and gambling laws, payment systems, FEMA;
  • Drafting and vetting contracts;
  • Structuring and advising on sports franchises and related contracts;
  • Advising clients on Dispute Resolution.

Before this, he has been a Principal Associate in the Sports Law Division of Lakshmi Kumaran and Sridharan, a Legal Consultant to the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 and a junior associate in the chambers of Mr. Dushayant Dave. He has also seconded in the sports law department of Squire Sanders and Dempsey, London (now Squire Patton Boggs).

He graduated from Government Law College, Mumbai in 2008 and did his Masters in Sports Law from DeMontfort University, Leicester.

He has kindly agreed to share with us his incredible experience along with giving some much needed guidance to the law students.

1) How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? How did you choose Sports Law as your area of specialisation?

I would like to introduce myself as a young striving sports and gaming lawyer, who is seeking to make a mark in the industry. During my third year of college, I was researching on an article on specializations in law and related jurisprudence. It is during this research that I came across a specialization called sports law. Though sports law seemed attractive upfront, I undertook a short course at the University of Pretoria, South Africa to understand a bit more about the area. From then on, I knew that this was my calling and I pursued it with rigour.

2) You were the President of the Sports Committee at Government Law College. What sports did you play as a student? Have you managed to continue playing it even now?

I have been a sports enthusiast from my days at school. I have played table-tennis at the state level, golf at the east India level and cricket for my school, while later captaining my college team for 5 years. In fact, I am proud of the fact that my bowling performances during my schooling stint at Hurstpierpoint College, England, is mentioned in the Wisden Cricket Almanac of the year.

I have continued playing to some extent, but not as much I would like! I captained the cricket team at the erstwhile firm where I worked i.e Lakshmi Kumaran and Sridharan and still do manage a few net sessions during the cricket season. I also manage to get a round of golf in, a few odd days and continue to play table-tennis as a hobby.

3) Your take sports law in India. Is it all inclusive? How can it be improved?

Sports law is still developing in India. It requires an understanding of many facets like the intellectual property laws, contract laws, torts, broadcasting laws and labour laws. However besides having an understanding of these, an understanding of the rules and regulations of the international federations, ant-doping laws and decisions rendered by authorities domestically and internationally on sports, is important.

While laws governing aspects of sports as a general activity exist, a particular law to govern the administration for sports is missing and is desperately needed. The match fixing/spot fixing saga in India has also highlighted the absence of a law pertaining to sports fraud and this concern also needs to be addressed as soon as possible. A draft legislation pertaining to these is available with the government and needs to be promulgated.

4) Your opinion on whether betting must be legalised in India and why/why not?

I am absolutely behind legalization of betting. Sports betting is anyways taking place and is estimated to be a USD 60 billion market in India. Due to the fact that authorities consider it illegal, it is conducted by criminal syndicates. Any punter seeking a harmless flutter needs to engage with the criminal syndicate in order to do so. While the government loses revenue due to such unauthorized sports betting, we are also exposing our citizens to criminals.

The Moral debate also seems misplaced as lottery ( a game of chance), betting on horse racing and teer (a form of archery) is legal, as betting on it is considered a game of skill since a person is required to judge variables like breed of the horse, form of jockey, nature of race amongst others. Surely sports are games of skill and a person placing a bet on sports is using his skill to judge the variables of sport.

Besides the above enumerated hypocrisy that exists, regulated sports betting will actually protect the integrity of the sport. In a regulated market, operators are aware of the person placing the bet and the event on which he/she is placing a bet on. Advanced formulas have been derived by the operators, where they have been able to calculate based on average, the bets that are placed on an event. If a person seeks to fix a match or a spot, he will have to place an unusually large amount of bet on happening of the event, in order to recover his costs.

This will lead to a disturbance in the betting pattern and the authorities will start investigating the bet. If they find tangible evidence prior to the event they might even warn the players and can even void the bet, besides catching the perpetrators. Further considering the lack of sports infrastructure in India, I am sure sports could benefit from the revenue received in taxes/levy from regulated sports betting.

5) You were the Secretary of the IPL Probe Committee. Your take on how the IPL match fixing was handled?

I cannot comment on the investigation and how, if at all, match fixing/spot fixing was done. The investigation report has been submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. What I can state is that working with a committee constituting stalwarts like Justice Mukul Mudgal, Justice L.Nageswara Rao (at that time a senior advocate) and senior advocate Mr. Nilay Dutta, was a huge learning experience. Observing them interact, put forth questions and evaluate documents, was a huge learning experience.

There were so many instances where they read between the lines and put forth a view, which would never have occurred to me. Even observing Mr. BB.Mishra and his team of officers undertake investigations taught me a lot on how integrity investigations should be undertaken.

6) Your advice to students who want to pursue a career in the sports law field?

Just because you are interested in sports and are pursuing law, please do not restrict your career choices. If you believe that sports law is calling, please read literature available on it. For Indian students, they could read Justice Mudgal and my book, ‘Law and Sports in India’ as a starting point. Please back this up by going through international texts as well. I believe some universities are offering certificate courses in sports law, please undertake one of these courses, so that an informed career choice can be made.

7) Krida Legal was founded in July 2014, what propelled this move?

While I was extremely satisfied and happy working at Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan and with the mentorship of Mr. Lakshmikumaran, I felt that I needed to do more. This urge culminated into an idea of branching out and starting a niche practice, thus the birth of our firm, initially named Ludus Legal which we later changed to Krida Legal.

8) What is the work environment like at Krida Legal?

We are a small boutique firm, therefore we have a flat organizational structure where all engaged with the firm interact freely. We even have a mood board in the office, where associates and interns while enumerating their work given, also put down their state of mind and sometimes even wise cracks.

9) What is the recruitment process like at Krida Legal? Do you prefer students that come through reference? Is there a college preference while recruiting?

We have a designated email address where the CVs and the accompanying covering letter can be sent to. We regularly review the applications received and decide on internships and recruitments.

10) What according to you makes a good CV. That of a topper or a CV with extra curricular achievements?

Whereas we appreciate good academic performances, we would prefer to hire a person who is passionate about sports and has played competitive sports.

11) What do you expect from a candidate during the interview process? Any answer that you have been particularly impressed with till date?

I expect a candidate to respect himself whilst also respecting the others. All candidates are professionals with requisite qualification, while they are required to put in work, they are also required to uphold their dignity and not be subservient to another person.

12) Your advice to interns at Krida Legal on how to ace it in order to expect a call back?

Be yourself, we respect that. If we find a person to be a genuine person with genuine interest in sports or gaming, we will take you as an intern if slots are available.

13) Is Krida Legal currently recruiting? Where should candidates look for job/internship opportunities contact?

Yes, we are recruiting when the right candidate applies. We have a system where the candidates send a covering letter and their CV to the designated email ID of the firm. We subsequently process the application, as soon as we can.

14) Any other words of wisdom to law students gearing up for the recruitment process?

Be ready to work hard, be loyal to your seniors and work with dignity and integrity. I believe that if law students can demonstrate these to their prospective recruiters, they stand a very good chance of getting hired.

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