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Revolutionizing Kabaddi: Isheta T Batra on UPKL’s Vision and Legal Challenges

Updated on: 18 May,2024 05:05 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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Isheta T Batra underscores the league’s commitment to rigorous legal standards.

Revolutionizing Kabaddi: Isheta T Batra on UPKL’s Vision and Legal Challenges

Isheta T Batra, IP, Sports & Media Counsel, UPKL Founder, TrailBlazer Advocates

Securing the entire legal portfolio for the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League (UPKL), Isheta T Batra underscores the league’s commitment to rigorous legal standards. This appointment reflects UPKL’s dedication to ensuring legalities are meticulously managed alongside its sporting ambitions.

Isheta is an experienced Intellectual Property, Sports & Media Attorney, renowned for her expertise in strategizing, protecting, and commercially exploiting IPRs and Sports Law. A 2015 graduate of Symbiosis Law School, Noida, and holding an LLM in Intellectual Property Rights & Technology Law from the National University of Singapore (NUS), she brings unparalleled expertise to the sports industry. She has represented athletes, leagues, and sports organizations, excelling in strategic counsel, contract negotiations, and dispute resolution. Isheta’s deep understanding of sports law empowers her clients to achieve their goals while mitigating risks effectively.

Q: Can you tell us about your role with the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League (UPKL)?
A: I am thrilled to be handling the entire legal framework for the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League (UPKL). As the IP, Sports & Media Counsel of UPKL and founder of TrailBlazer Advocates, my role would be pivotal in ensuring that the league operates smoothly within the legal framework, adhering to all applicable laws and regulations. Further I have the responsibility of ensuring that the league's operations are legally sound and strategically aligned with our broader goals. Moreover, I work closely with everyone involved in the league, including players, coaches, team owners, sponsors, and fans, to address any legal concerns they may have. UPKL is giving equal importance to the legalities surrounding its operations, highlighting our commitment to transparency, professionalism, and fair play.

Q: What role does the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League (UPKL) play in India’s sports ecosystem?
A: The UPKL stands as a beacon of innovation and progress in India’s dynamic sporting landscape. With a robust legal framework and regulatory guidelines, the league aims to redefine the story of kabaddi in India. "UPKL wants to do for kabaddi what the Indian Premier League (IPL) has achieved for cricket," I emphasize, underscoring our commitment to transparency, professionalism, and participation.

Q: How does UPKL address the challenges of rapid technological advances and growing revenues?
A: In an era marked by rapid technological advances and growing revenues, UPKL faces the challenge of aligning its practices with dynamic regulations. Firstly, the Indian sports industry is rapidly innovating with new formats, technologies (e.g., esports), and revenue streams (e.g., fantasy sports). Regulations may not keep pace, creating uncertainty for UPKL. UPKL team might struggle to determine if their practices comply with existing regulations or require new approvals. Secondly, with the rise of data analytics and fan engagement platforms, UPKL needs to ensure compliance with the ever evolving data privacy regulations. Thirdly, New training methods and supplements raise concerns about maintaining a level playing field. Compliance is paramount, and we emphasize the importance of agile regulatory mechanisms to ensure UPKL’s operations remain in line with changing regulations.

Q: What measures does UPKL take to maintain a level playing field and uphold the integrity of the sport?
A: The UPKL maintains a level playing field and upholds the integrity of the sport through a multifaceted approach. This includes enforcing a strict regulatory framework with comprehensive rules and regulations, implementing robust anti-doping policies, ensuring fair competition standards through measures such as salary caps and draft regulations, promoting transparency and accountability in all operations, collaborating with stakeholders to address integrity issues collectively, conducting thorough investigations into allegations of misconduct, and continuously improving integrity measures to stay ahead of evolving threats. Through these efforts, UPKL strives to ensure that all participants can compete with confidence in the fairness and credibility of the competition.

Q: How does UPKL handle long-term contracts with stakeholders and dispute resolution mechanisms?
A: Addressing long-term contracts with stakeholders and dispute resolution mechanisms, we stress the need for establishing clear and comprehensive contracts and agreements that outline the rights and responsibilities of each stakeholder. Whether it's player contracts, sponsorship deals, or broadcasting agreements, I ensure that the terms are fair, transparent, and provide adequate protection for all parties involved. Secondly, I advocate for the implementation of robust dispute resolution mechanisms within the league's framework. By establishing fair and impartial procedures for addressing conflicts or grievances, I aim to resolve disputes efficiently while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders. By fostering open communication and ethical standards, UPKL aims to cultivate a harmonious ecosystem conducive to growth and stability.

Q: What is your legal roadmap for media and digital rights?
A: Firstly, my approach involves negotiating and drafting comprehensive media rights agreements that outline the terms of broadcasting, streaming, and digital content distribution. Further, my legal roadmap for media and digital rights focuses on maximizing revenue opportunities while protecting UPKL’s intellectual property. Through strategic partnerships with broadcasters and digital channels, the league aims to increase viewer engagement and reach wider audiences. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing media rights and digital content distribution, including copyright laws, licensing requirements, and data privacy regulations is a cornerstone of UPKL’s digital strategy, ensuring minimization of legal risks.

Q: How does UPKL protect its brand and intellectual property rights in the digital sphere?
A: Protecting UPKL's brand and intellectual property rights in the digital sphere is paramount. We begin by effectively safeguarding our intellectual property through mechanisms such as IP registrations, effective contracts etc. We implement robust digital rights management systems to monitor and protect its content across online platforms. Additionally, UPKL actively monitors online channels for any instances of trademark infringement or unauthorized use of its logos, trademarks, and other brand assets, promptly taking legal action when necessary to enforce its intellectual property rights. Furthermore, UPKL engages in strategic partnerships and licensing agreements with reputable digital platforms and media outlets, ensuring that its content is distributed legally and generating revenue streams from digital rights exploitation.

Q: How does your guidance shape UPKL's future?
A: As UPKL navigates the legal complexities of the Indian sports industry, my guidance serves as a compass, steering the league towards a future defined by integrity, innovation, and equitable opportunity. I provide invaluable insight into industry trends, fan preferences, and regulatory compliance, ensuring UPKL remains at the forefront of the kabaddi landscape. In my vision, UPKL emerges not just as a regional powerhouse but as a catalyst for the transformation of kabaddi on the national stage.

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