Kolkata: While the sports sector overall has been impacted by the July 1 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) with equipment cost and price of entry tickets for tournaments attracting up to 28 per cent tax, the FIFA U-17 World Cup tickets would not be affected, according to Local Organising Committee (LoC) tournament director Javier Ceppi.
"We had taken a conscious decision to keep our tickets prices economical, because we wanted universal access to the World Cup," Ceppi told IANS over phone.
According to the new indirect tax regime ushered in at the stroke of midnight on July 1, tickets priced below Rs 250 will be exempt from GST.
Ceppi said that while most World Cup tickets will be priced below Rs 250, those few that fall in the higher bracket would not cost the buyer much due to the pan-India indirect taxation reform.
"Most of our tickets have been priced below the Rs 250 threshold and will not attract GST, so it is something that was resolved even before GST came into effect. For the few tickets we have over Rs 250, we will not pass on any extra cost due to GST to the fans and we will follow all regulations and procedures as established in the law," the Chilean added.
The first phase of World Cup tickets had a discount of 60 percent on the minimum priced tickets to those buying tickets in block for all the matches at a venue.
But post-GST rollout where the Indian Premier League will attract the highest tax slab of 28 per cent, other events organised by national sports federations (NSFs) will attract 18 per cent on tickets.
The cost of a number of sporting equipment will also shoot up.
City-based India batsman Manoj Tiwary urged the cricket coaching centres to come forward and help budding cricketers, who are from financially weak background, with basic kit.
"If prices of helmets and bats go up, it will definitely be difficult for the not so rich ones to afford them. We have a lot of talent in suburbs and not everyone there can afford expensive equipment. Post-GST, if prices of these things go up, my personal opinion is that cricket coaching centres should help the needy ones with a basic kit," Tiwar told IANS.
Tiwary, who has been part of IPL since its inception in 2008, however, felt the brand value of IPL is such that it won't be affected even if ticket prices go up from season 11.
Before GST, sports manufacturers were paying two percent excise duty on goods, according to the charge imposed on them in 2011.
But post-July 1, their goods have come under the 12-28 percent slab.
According to a sports store manager here, his store has remained empty since July 1.
"Since the GST has come into force, the prices of gym equipment have shot up as it is under 28 per cent slab. The dealers are also skeptical in selling products to us as the entire scenario is still unclear," Indrajit Mitra of 'Energie' sports shop in south Kolkata's Triangular Park said.
"If, say, the price of a helmet or a bat goes up from Rs 100 to Rs 110, it's okay. But if it is 150, it's a problem. The footfall in our shop has decreased considerably since July 1," Mitra added.
Former Olympian shooter Joydeep Karmakar, who runs a shooting academy here, said the impact of GST will be both good and bad.
"The good part is that the entry tax that was levied on the Bengal border in the pre-GST days when equipment from Delhi or Mumbai used to come will not be there anymore. That is a major advantage for us," Karmakar, who missed a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics 50m prone event by less than a two-point margin, told IANS.
Karmakar said there are still issues which need to be looked at like equipment arriving from abroad.
"We have 80 per cent of our equipment coming from abroad. Post-GST, whether their shipment cost will go up, is still unclear. Another good thing is that prices of shoes have come down. We still need a month or so to assess how goods coming from abroad will be priced and what percentage of tax will be applicable on them," Karmakar added.
Shoes priced below Rs 500 have come down (from 14.4 percent pre-GST to five per cent post-GST) but those above the figure have shot up from 14.4 per cent pre-GST to 18 per cent after the imposition of the 'one country, one tax' regime.