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TTSL get $550,000 boost but still seeking title sponsor; Look Loy questions TTFA allocation criteria

The Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) got a much-needed boost in the run-up to the start of its 2017/18 season, scheduled for Sunday 11 June. Caribbean Football Trust Ltd (CFTL) has agreed to fund two of the League’s competitions to the tune of a total of TT$550,000.

The agreement between the TTSL and the Barbados-based CFTL will see TT$200,000 going towards the League Cup competition—won last year by Tobago’s Bethel FC—and a further TT$350,000 going towards a brand new “Winner takes all” Power Eight competition.

Photo: TTSL interim president Keith Look Loy (left) and CFTL chairman Chris Anderson agree sponsorship for two cups for the 2017 TTSL season during a press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 5 June 2017.
(Courtesy Roneil Walcott/Wired868)

Former national footballer Chris Anderson, who is chairman of the CFTL, signed on behalf of his company while TTSL’s interim President Keith Look Loy did the honours for the League at a media conference at the old Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) headquarters at the Hasely Crawford Stadium today.

Anderson told the media that Look Loy’s passion and commitment are what drove him to take concrete action and gave the assurance that his company stands ready to assist in the improvement of the football culture in the two-island republic.

“As a former Trinidad and Tobago youth, senior and international player,” Anderson told the media. “my passion has always been for Trinidad and Tobago football. For the past 15-20 years I’ve seen our football decline in a way where it is totally dilapidated if you ask me.”

“When I spoke to my board of directors, they said ‘It’s your choice.’ They said, ‘It’s your country and your passion,’ and I got the full support from all my board members to do this. This is the beginning. I anticipate that we will venture into greater things as we go along…”

Anderson predicted that a real vigour and intensity will be brought back to local football with the “Winner takes all” competition. The finer details of the tournament still have to be sorted out by his technical team, he said, but the idea that he has in his head is for a knockout tournament for the top eight league teams come the end of the 2017/18 season.

Photo: WASA attacker Shane Calderon (right) tries to keep the ball away from Defence Force star Josimar Belgrave during CNG National Super League Premiership Division action yesterday in St Joseph.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Coaches, players and fans alike are expected to be revved up for the Power Eight competition as the team which finishes on top will receive a handsome TT$200,000. The remaining TT$150,000 which is being pumped into the tournament will go towards transport, referees and other stipends.

Look Loy shares Anderson’s conviction that the competition will serve as a great incentive for the TTSL’s top tier clubs.

“There is no doubt that the ‘Winner takes all’ Power Eight tournament will generate great intensity,” he said to the media. “And intensity is what is going to market that tournament.”

But Look Loy lamented that, while the Power Eight tournament will see one exuberant group of players walking away a solid cash prize, not all teams which participate in the League Cup will receive some sort of monetary rewards for their efforts.

Happy at being able to welcome the CFTL sponsorship, the founder of last season’s Super League champion club, FC Santa Rosa, stressed that there are currently no monetary incentives set aside for league play since the TTSL is still in search of a title sponsor. He noted that there was still time for local investors to come on board and he reiterated his request for a meeting with Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith on funding for inter-island transportation.

Photo: (From Left to right) Lt Ryan Ottley (TTSL interim VP), Keith Look Loy (TTSL interim President), Minister Darryl Smith, Camara David (TTSL Secretary), Kester Lendor (TTSL interim Assistant Secretary) and Quincy Jones (interim Board member).
(Courtesy TTSL)

“I am not a believer that the State must finance sport,” Look Loy told the assembled media. “I am not a believer in the State financing football clubs. But I do believe that the State has a role in creating an environment in which sport can flourish.”

“To be specific,” he continued, “one month ago, I wrote a letter to the Minister of Sport seeking a discussion for some kind of State support—which has always existed in the life of the Super League—for inter-island travel for our members.”

He explained that the League’s roster includes three Tobago-based teams, which means that half of the League’s budget, almost $500,000, will have to be spent to finance the movement of 20 clubs between the two islands,

“The State has normally paid,” he revealed. “But we have not been able to secure a discussion with the State, therefore, we are paying for it ourselves.”

Correspondence from the Sport Ministry has not exactly been forthcoming but Look Loy is hopeful that, with the league season starting on Sunday, he will be able to have discussions with officials of the TTFA and the Sports Ministry sooner rather than later.

Photo: FC Santa Rosa midfielder Jesse Reyes (left) tries to keep the ball away from Club Sando Moruga midfielder Kyle Morgan during 2015/16 CNG National Super League (NSL) Premiership Division action at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

He also expressed his gratitude to the TTFA for the US$25,000 (TT$168,000) it has announced it will grant to the TTSL. However, Look Loy noted, his organization has not so far received any official notification concerning the allocation.

“First of all, let me say that I am very happy that we have received that money as well,” Look Loy told Wired868. “We are operating on a very tight budget, which is a budget based solely on our registration fees. And we are cutting our suit to fit the cloth that we have.”

He added, however, that he is quite curious about the criteria the TTFA used to determine the quantum of the allocation as the TT Pro League is set to receive four times the amount pledged to the TTSL.

“This is not money that is pulled out of a hat by magic. This is FIFA money that is available to national associations across the globe to help develop the administration of their football.”

“What criteria were used to decide how much each league will get? Why do I ask this? The TT Pro League has ten members; we have 20—including three in Tobago. The TT Pro League has no teams in Tobago. And we have a $460,000 budget to finance inter-island travel for our 20 clubs.”

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (centre) momentarily loses his smile as he considers a Wired868 question on racism at a press conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
Sitting on either side of Infantino are TTFA president David John-Williams (left) and Sport Minister Darryl Smith.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Stressing that the TTSL is “happy to receive the money,” Look Loy insisted that, logically, “even if the TT Pro League is getting US$100,000 with less members and no inter-island travel budget, we should certainly get more than US$25,000.”

About R.Walcott

R.Walcott
Roneil Walcott is a Journalism and Public Relations student at COSTAATT and a freelancer at Wired868. Walcott is an avid sports fan and former Harvard Cricket Clinic member and ex-St. Mary’s College cricket player.

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44 comments

  1. After everyone get there cut it will have none left for the players

  2. PRO-LEAGUE! they’ve been around, tested and proven as well! of course they will get the Lions-share of the local governing body’s offering smh

  3. There are a couple Brian Jordan, maybe a few.

  4. Keith I would have thought that the proper business like way would be to to look at the historical financial data and also ask the League to present a budget for the coming season .
    But the concept of giving what is not yours as a favour or gift in order to look good still persists .

  5. This is Trinidad & Tobago. None of the teams in any league are self sufficient.

  6. Why does the league need a sponsor for inter-island travel? That’s the responsibility of the individual teams. Unless of course the TTSL is a single entity system, with the league owning the teams etc.

  7. Without a sponsor for inter-island transportation, what do you believe is best choice Timothy?

  8. Nice work by Chris Anderson. It’s great that he was able to lobby his company to support the TTSL. I do have a question for the TTSL EB. Why in the world did they make the decision to cover the cost of team travel between Trinidad and Tobago? My understanding is that they have taken the bulk of the $40K that each team is required to pay to register for the league and use that to cover inter-island transportation. Why aren’t the individual teams required to cover inter-island travel cost? That way you have funds to cover league prices.

    • Won’t that be unfair to the Tobago teams who will have to pay every weekend? And isn’t it supposed to be an amateur league? How were the teams going to pay for the transport?

    • Kion – I wouldn’t call it unfair. Each team should be required to foot their own travel bills. As it currently stands Trinidad based teams are being asked to cover the travel budget of the three Tobago based teams. Now that’s unfair.

    • I thought I stated how above. My understanding is that the bulk of the $40K registration cost per team will be used to fund inter-island travel cost. If there are only three Tobago teams on the TTSL, which teams will be utilizing the bulk of those funds?

    • Please correct me if I’m wrong as that’s my current understanding of the situation.

    • The bulk? But everyone pays the same reg fee. The league decides how and where those fees would be allocated to administer the league efficiently. Not sure how that tantamount to one team paying the bulk of anything.

    • Do the math Timothy. There are 17 teams based in Trinidad and 3 in Tobago. Each trini based team will fly to Tobago at least three times and each Tobago team will fly to trini at least 17 times. Who’s using up the bulk of the travel budget?

    • TTSL CarlosLee, until such time that it is subsidized by a sponsor or a sporting body. You do the maths, the teams pay to play in the league not to travel between the twin islands.

    • I hear what you are saying but I do not agree

    • I hear you. My main point is that individual teams should be responsible for their own travel expenses. The “league” should not be covering that.

    • The ‘League” are the member clubs, the own the TTSL. They (the league), which are the member clubs approves the budget of the League. So technically the individual clubs are paying their own travel expenses. I understand your point where from it financial perspective it makes no sense to have the Tobago teams. But from a political and nationalistic perspective, if we are to call ourselves the Trinidad and TOBAGO Super League, we are to bear the financial burdens of the Tobago teams and include them in the League.

    • Camara Mackenson David – I’m not saying it makes no sense to have the Tobago teams.

    • I’m saying that their travel budget should not be covered/subsidized by the other teams/league.

    • Honestly, Carlos Lee, everything are works in progress and we certainly have progress a long way over the last six months.

    • I guess I see it as keeping the playing field fair and not causing discrimination because of where a team is from. If the Tobago teams have to pay for 17 trips, they are automatically at a financial disadvantage, I think, which will eventually cause a disparity on the field

    • And what’s wrong with one team having a financial advantage over another? It’s a free market and financial imbalances will always exist. Some teams are also better at fundraising / seeking and gaining corporate sponsorship than others. Why should a team take it’s hard earned money to help cover the expenses of its competitor? Doesn’t seem to make much sense. What’s next, forcing the better teams to loan players to the weaker teams to ensure we have parity on the playing field?

    • Visiting the tackle shop Carlos Lee. See the cup half full!

  9. This TTFA handout raises the following questions; was there bias in the allocation between both entities?? Who determined how much to be allocated (WHO DID THE MATHS?)?? Why was that particular amount allocated to TT Pro League and to TTSL??

  10. I’m actually more confused by this “handout” from TTFA. If it was for administrative needs I assume TTFA would’ve contacted TTPL & TTSL prior to dispensing funds.
    How exactly were these needs assesed ? I really don’t wanna believe it was an ad hoc assessment and payout.

  11. Very positive step for TTSL.

  12. Lasana – KLL still in the group? Checked the TTSL page for upcoming fixtures for all the games but no luck. Can you ask him to post here?