Home / Volley / Global Football / Should taxpayers continue to help Pro League? Shabazz, Hospedales, Harrison, Eve and Fakoory speak

Should taxpayers continue to help Pro League? Shabazz, Hospedales, Harrison, Eve and Fakoory speak

New day, old problems. The Trinidad and Tobago Pro League kicked off as scheduled on 9 June 2017; but the problems are still there: little money, small crowds and general public disinterest.

Or maybe things are worse than usual. Digicel have not renewed their title sponsorship while, for only the second time in the last six years, a Pro League club was not crowned Caribbean champion with that honour going instead to the Dominican Republic’s Cibao FC last month.

Photo: Cibao FC winger Patrick Soko (left) takes on San Juan Jabloteh players Adrian Reid (right) and Nathan Lewis during the Caribbean Club Championship final on 21 May 2017 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
Cibao won 1-0.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

And the government’s subvention of TT$50,000 per month for eight of the 10 Pro League clubs—Defence Force and Police FC are excluded—has expired and the league is on tenterhooks as a new application is prepared for Cabinet approval.

On the plus side, San Juan Jabloteh and W Connection appear to have put together teams capable of dethroning reigning champions, Central FC, who just helped themselves to an unprecedented hattrick of League titles.

And, perhaps more importantly, the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team are still alive in the Russia 2018 World Cup race with a head coach, Dennis Lawrence, who has no fear of pitching local-based players in battle with the best teams in CONCACAF.

Mexico, who are into the semifinals of the ongoing 2017 Confederations Cup, were lucky to escape with a 1-0 win in Port of Spain—remember Trinidad and Tobago ‘scored’ first but had Joevin Jones’ item unfairly disallowed for offside.

And the Warriors team which kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 qualifying win over Panama in March had four local-based players in their rear guard: Jan-Michael Williams, Carlos Edwards, Daneil Cyrus and Curtis Gonzales.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Curtis Gonzales (right) keeps the ball from Mexico attacker Carlos Vela during their Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 28 March 2017.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Alfredo Estrella)

So are the current issues the beginning of the end for the Pro League? Or can the local top flight competition weather the storm?

And, perhaps just as importantly, does Trinidad and Tobago need the Pro League at all?

Wired868 raised the subject of the government subvention, whether taxpayers get value for money, community grounds and the quality of leadership from Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene and former chairman Larry Romany, who resigned his post earlier this month.

San Juan Jabloteh chairman Jerry Hospedales, Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison, Morvant Caledonia United coach and co-founder Jamaal Shabazz, St Ann’s Rangers owner Richard Fakoory and Club Sando coach Angus Eve took time to provide answers.

Photo: Central FC attacker Jason Marcano (left) offers then Morvant Caledonia United goalkeeper Stephon Seepersad a hand during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 20 December 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Wired868: What does the TT$50,000 a month subvention mean for Pro League clubs?

Shabazz: The subvention means a lot. Our monthly expenses are about TT$125,000 to TT$130,000 a month, which is salaries and match day expenses—especially with our youth programme. You take away TT$50,000 from that… (Laughs) It is a lot.

If the subvention was to stop, it would certainly force us to make adjustments but it really represents a percentage of our monthly budget.

Eve: The subvention is very important in the way of youth development and keeping young people out of crime and giving them some sort of direction in their lives. If you look at the National [Athletics] Championships this weekend, you can see we are not people who support sport at grassroots level. So it is difficult for teams to make money from gate receipts because we don’t have that support base where people come out and support.

And the Pro League is fighting an additional issue in that there are no grounds within communities where the teams are playing. Mannie Ramjohn is out of the way and Ato Boldon is hard [to travel to]… People don’t understand that Pro League teams have more than one team. They have an under-13 team, an under-15 team, in terms of Club Sando, we have a women’s team and South Zone team and a Super League team.

It may seem like we are getting a lot of money [from the government] but the owners are putting out way more than that.

Photo: Club Sando winger Akeem Roach (right) tries to escape from W Connection defender Maurice Ford during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 14 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Fakoory: If they stop [the subvention], I don’t know. (Pauses) I feel it will continue though. If not [club director Richard] Piper and I will have to sit down and discuss it. We get 40 percent [of our operating budget] from the Sport Company and we carry the other 60 percent… Our [player] salaries are between TT$2,000 and TT$4,000 a month and it is a pay roll around the vicinity of TT$80,000.

Our new sponsors, MIC-IT, help us offset costs like transportation and refreshments after games and they helped make our staff bigger by paying our goalkeeping coach and for us to get an assistant coach and physio. But the government must understand how important that subvention is for us to keep going.

Harrison: I can’t speak for other clubs but I think [without the subvention] the question would be whether we would want to continue. Because it falls on myself and Brent [Sancho] to continue to fund the club as we have been doing for the last 14 or 15 months. The future of Central FC will then be dependent on if [the foreign investment we are pursuing] is going to come through.

Photo: Central FC goal scorer Jean-Luc Rochford (front) and his teammates celebrate with the 2015 Caribbean Club Championship trophy.
Looking on is Central FC operations director Kevin Harrison (top left) and Bankers Insurance CEO Vance Gabriel (top centre).
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

What is the point of paying to play in the Pro League with no prize money [and subvention]? What would be our reason to find another TT$600,000 to get through the season? There is no return. It is only because of the interest from abroad that we are continuing but there is no financial logic to continue.

We created a milestone with three league titles and two Caribbean titles, so we have nothing to prove. We can back away with our record and say we have done our bit. What we are doing is we are paying players’ wages with no benefit to the club or for us personally. It is charity. So we will have to look long and hard at it.

We are a step nearer [to foreign investment]. As recently as this week we had a meeting, so we are quite positive. We are looking at alternative investment too like former players investing in the club and taking equity.

We have had the club valued by a professional and [with a 10 year projection] he valued the club in excess of TT$10 million. So maybe we can also go to a share offering or something like that.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from left) and Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds (far left) meet players from W Connection before kick off against Morvant Caledonia United at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training ground on 20 January 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Wired868: What does Pro League offer Trinidad and Tobago in return for this investment of taxpayers’ money?

Eve: Look at the same national team which the Prime Minister and Sport Minister put on their red jerseys and go out and support. All the players on that team come from the Pro League and are there because they were developed in the Pro League.

Kevin Molino just got one of the biggest contracts in the MLS and he didn’t leave Trinidad until the age of 23. By then, all of his development was already done as a player and that came in the Pro League.

We are developing young men to get better lives for themselves. [St Ann’s Rangers defender] Aquil Selby got seven shots in the Harp. He was not a gangster by the way. Now, he and his mom have a house in Oropune and he was able to get a loan for that based on his playing in the Pro League.

[San Juan Jabloteh winger] Nathan Lewis was shot several times in his community. If it wasn’t for Jabloteh who stood by him and paid his wages and took care of him, who knows if he would have gone back after the guy—like what tends to happen in these communities. Instead because he had that grounding from the Pro League, he is now representing the Trinidad and Tobago National Team.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Nathan Lewis (left) runs at Costa Rica defender Francisco Calvo during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action in San José on 13 June 2017. 
(Copyright AFP2017/Ezequiel Becerra)

This is an invaluable service that the government is providing; and they are not just creating jobs but helping in crime. In fact, I think the money should also be spread around more ministries like Community Development, Education and National Security.

Parents tell you all the time about the discipline their children get from training and being part of a team. Many of those kids don’t have an educational background but they have a skill and we are investing in that.

Hospedales: Without the Pro League, you cannot have a quality national football team because the Pro League has been producing the national team ever since it started. If you look at the career path of the entire national team now […] they all came from the Pro League.

Each Pro League club has a youth programme and on every given Sunday from March to July, each has 75 to 100 young players on the field. That is contributing to the social development of young people and if they take it out I don’t know what will happen…

We believe we are contributing to the career development of young people. How can people say the Pro League is not doing well for national football and yet they put on their red jersey and go to watch the national team? Where did they think those players came from?

Photo: Then W Connection midfielder Joevin Jones (left) outfoxes San Juan Jabloteh defender Nyron Jones during a 2013/14 Pro League contest.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Fakoory: We reached Germany and we can still reach Russia. The whole squad that played [for Trinidad and Tobago in their last World Cup qualifier] in Costa Rica all passed through the Pro League. The Pro League clubs are developing great youths and we are all doing things for the youths.

I am doing this for 38 years and I know how players are and sometimes they don’t appreciate it—although they play for free and we wash their uniforms and prepare and do everything for them. But I know we are doing our part.

The amount of money I put out, my family always ask me: ‘Richard, what are you doing?’ But I cannot give it up and I cannot let all that time and effort go [in vain].

Shabazz: To me, in an economic crisis and in a high crime scenario, sports and culture as an industry should be the target of any shrewd economic mind in control of the treasury. Because it generates mass participation and [financial] turnover. If you have an affordable game in the community, commerce takes place from the taxi man come down to the corn soup man. And it is the same with cultural activities.

And then there is also the participation of young people who are taken away from that idleness and criminal influence. And we have young players from Beetham, Beverly Hills, Sea Lots, Morvant…

Photo: Morvant Caledonia United captain Akim Armstrong (centre) tries to hold off San Juan Jabloteh defender Aquil Selby (second from left) while Jevon Morris (right) looks on during Pro League action at the Morvant Recreation Ground on 16 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Wired868: How do you rate the work done by Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene and recently departed chairman Larry Romany over the last 10-plus years?

Fakoory: They had gotten us a sponsor with Digicel and from my angle, I am catching my tail to get a sponsor. So I can see how difficult it is. And Larry always gave me good advice. Now that Larry has gone, we have Sam Phillip to hold on and he is with us until the end of the season. But we need somebody to be able to market the Pro League [because] nobody wants to sponsor or help out football.

I can’t say [Romany and Skeene] did good or bad; they did the best they could do. I wish they could have done more for us in terms of getting money but I am glad for what they did.

Hospedales: They have kept the league alive. When we formed this league [and] the government began to fund us, one of the conditions was they would create community facilities for the League to be played in. But that never came out. Both spectator interest and sponsorship interest are not facilitating by the distance of Pro League games from their communities, so it was difficult for us to get spectators and sponsors.

So the financial model didn’t work.

Photo: Central FC star Ataulla Guerra (centre) takes the 2014/15 Pro League trophy from Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Harrison: I think Dexter [Skeene] has been battling on his own to a degree. Larry [Romany] has been a good chairman and steered the board [but] from what I understand, he was brought on to tap into the private sector and bring in money. But it is no better now than then. In fact, it is worse.

From a stewardship point of view, [Romany] did a good job but if he was brought on to tap into the corporate market then where is the money?

At the moment, we are playing for nothing [because there is no prize money]. I am sure that Dexter will pull something out of the bag and we will get something; but we still have not been paid our prize money for the last two years and I have no idea when we will get it. It is sitting on our balance sheet as a plus but we still don’t have it.

Shabazz: I think they have given a good effort and they have done well to be fair…  The League belongs to the clubs; it is a board of directors. So [Romany and Skeene] carry out the dictate of the clubs. If people say they haven’t done a good job what that really means is we as the board haven’t done a good job.

It is a collective process and all of us have to accept responsibility for where we are; they don’t make decisions on their own at all. We pride ourselves on the fact that we broke away from the [Jack] Warner-type situation where every club could have a member on the board and make decisions independent of the TTFA. We pride ourselves on that.

If any people want to cast aspersions on the leadership of Skeene, I think they are being a bit mischievous in terms of how decisions are arrived at in the League. The board makes the decisions.

Photo: Former TTOC and CANOC president and TT Pro League chairman Larry Romany.
(Copyright TTOC)

Wired868: The Pro League says community grounds are the future but there seems to be some inconsistency about that. Where do you stand?

Eve: There are a couple clubs who probably think we are the English Premier League and they only want to play on a particular standard of pitch. But some of these community grounds just need a little work; and we need to start somewhere.

There is a level of inconsistency [among the Pro League clubs] but I have advocated that we need to play in the communities. I understand the concern by coaches but if you look at the St Mary’s College and Fatima College grounds, they don’t have great facilities and infrastructure but the surface is good. If the government partners with us and at least fix the surface of these grounds, we can work with that…

Tottenham will be playing in Wembley this season, which is England’s national stadium that their government spent millions of pounds to build. West Ham will be playing in the Olympic Stadium and a lot of [England Premier League] teams play in venues owned by their city corporations who help pay for maintenance.

Teams in the NFL and MLS get government funding for their venues too. All the stadia in Russia were built by their government. The Azteca Stadium in Mexico was built by their government when they held the World Cup. Even Nelson Mandela’s last plane flight was to come to Trinidad [as a guest of then FIFA vice-president Jack Warner] because he understood the importance of getting the World Cup in South Africa.

It is a great misconception that governments don’t help professional sport all over the world.

Photo: San Juan Jabloteh coach Keith Jeffrey (right) and Defence Force coach Marvin Gordon look on during Pro League action on 12 March 2016 at the Barataria Recreation Ground.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Hospedales: It is very difficult for youths to get from Bourg Mulatresse to the Ato Boldon Stadium and the financial model cannot work [if your supporters cannot get to your games]. You know what it costs to travel from Bourg Mulatresse to Ato Boldon?

If the stadia were developed like originally planned, then we would get money at the gates and people will come and then sponsors will bring their goods to advertise. So that half of our model didn’t happen.

[Prime Minister] Dr [Keith] Rowley said community grounds will come next after the Brian Lara Stadium and that is important because Pro League football in the stadia is not viable. Why should a guy put up a sponsorship board at the stadium with only a handful of people there?

A long time ago we should have had a facility in Bourg Mulatresse with changing rooms and proper fencing and so on where small entrepreneurs can come and make money on a weekly basis and the public can have weekly entertainment. This is what should happen.

We used to get big crowds when we played at the San Juan [North Secondary] school but we were not allowed to continue there [in the Pro League] because it is not a FIFA standard ground.

Photo: Spectators at the Morvant Recreation Ground look on as Morvant Caledonia United host San Juan Jabloteh in Pro League action at the Morvant Recreation Ground on 16 October 2016.
Jabloteh won 4-2.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Shabazz: It is not an inconsistency in the Pro League office, it is an inconsistency with a few people saying with their mouths what they don’t mean. Now there will be a little give in terms of the quality of the surface—and David Nakhid might beat me for saying this!—and the lights won’t be blindingly bright. But I think when we decide a matter in the boardroom, people should keep to it.

I really feel it for North East Stars who had to refund 400 people [after their game against Central FC was called off due to concerns about lighting and field marking].

The reality is the community facilities are not up to the standard of the five stadia but they are more likely to get spectators. It is a work in progress; we have to get them upgraded but in the meantime we have to utilise them.

My team loves to put down the ball and play but it is a minor discomfort when compared to the lifeline of the League.

Photo: Morvant Caledonia United midfielder Densill Theobald (centre) tries to hang on to San Juan Jabloteh winger Noel Williams during Pro League action at the Morvant Recreation Ground on 16 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Morvant Caledonia is not afraid of losing the subvention, once we get the land. We are a different kind of slave. We’d rather struggle on [our] feet than die on we knees begging those in a party that owes our grandparents and parents for 50 years of blind loyalty and total support even in its darkest hours—33 [seats] to 3.

We are not riding the bandwagon of poor black youths from Laventille begging the PNM government for a cheque every month. We prefer to be granted use of the Morvant Recreation Ground in Park Street.

Once we get the permission or the go ahead, we will find the resources to refurbish it and make it into something even the PNM would be proud of. We as young black youths would be able to help ourselves by generating income at the gates through advertising and sponsorship.

In saying that we are also interested in generating economic growth for the small business people inside the community—namely the corn soup man, the nuts man the lady selling wings and all those people who got to make a dollar when we had the three home games last season in Morvant.

Photo: Morvant residents enjoy their first taste of Pro League football as Morvant Caledonia United and San Juan Jabloteh battled at the Morvant Recreation Ground on 16 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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139 comments

  1. I have no issue or problem with the Pro League. The problem I am having is the governors of the Pro League and the T&T Football as a whole. I state this because they all operate as as Tribe of people and of the Tribe, they select their own and not allow worthy and competent people to have the opportunity to raise the standard of our Football. If you are not of the Tribe, you are not allowed to get into Coaching. If you are not of the Tribe you can be much better than those chosen on the National Teams you are not given a just opportunity.

  2. I am totally appalled at the situation after just reading The Lyndon Andrews story, Mr. Liburd thank you for bringing it to the fro, it must be noted that the league has to protect the players at all time, since as as I remember this was the premiss from the beginning when Mr. Skeene made the intro on the league and teams and their propensity to pay it’s employees. Low and behold this shiiiite happens. FIFA asked, as far as I remember that countries set up professional leagues, legally. How could the league have an unregistered team competing, advertising, employing, winning, accepting donations, accepting trophies, accepting prize money and they in get sanctioned. Mr. Andrews if proleague, eh help, TTFA eh help, go to FIFA ethics committee

  3. THERE were a few Pro League games at the Barataria Community Ground for FREE….and the attendance was very poor….

  4. Why would the private sector sponsor or partner with anyone who does not have a very good business plan and model. People invest where there is a good plan, people who they believe can execute, and their will some sort of return. I hear all what we want. Now I wanna hear what product is being offered, and who will manage the resources to ensure growth and a return, as well as what is the solid business models for the League, Clubs, vendors, etc associated with this whole enterprise.

    As rightfully said the economy is not doing so well, so your proposal for Sponsorship, and I have always said it should be for Partnership has to have all research, and be very solid.

    Just give me a ground in the community is not a business plan.

    You have no garantee if you open a grocery in a community is will be successful. So there needs to be a Plan

    Respect to all involved.

    • Sheldon, most people on this link feel that the private sector is in the business of charity. So when I ask just give me money. This is a big issue in TT – not just football. People don’t see that they have to have a robust plan that shows cost vs benefit. The plan must answer questions about – what, why, how, when, who and finally EXPECTED RESUTS/VALUE. We need a corporate structure/understanding around football!

  5. So it seems that the people who is running the governments and controlling the treasury either doesn’t know that, just doesn’t care or just is about emptying the treasury for the own personal gains or what ent. Them really good yes.

  6. ‘To me, in an economic crisis and in a high crime scenario, sports and culture as an industry should be the target of any shrewd economic mind in control of the treasury. Because it generates mass participation and [financial] turnover. If you have an affordable game in the community, commerce takes place from the taxi man come down to the corn soup man. And it is the same with cultural activities.

    And then there is also the participation of young people who are taken away from that idleness and criminal influence. And we have young players from Beetham, Beverly Hills, Sea Lots, Morvant…’ AMEN!!!

  7. We rather some croked politicians steal our money and we keep quiet, than invest in our youth, this place sick yes

  8. As I said, I am not going to read the article and I have been preaching this since the bootleg professional league started back in the days , our football belongs in our communities in order to get the real crowd supporters and for the standards of our players and the football to raise to the real professional level, and the owners of the teams needs to do things in the communities that they represents, just imagine that NE stars has moved from Sande Grande because of the field conditions eh to now represent the Arima community in the Veladrone eh and the field isn’t in top level for playing the beautiful game neither and the professional teams should all have their own youth programs to develop their players and youth coaches instead of borrowing other clubs youth teams to represent them in the league eh. Them really good yes.

    • Hard to give a plausible response to something you haven’t read. That’s just hilarious.

    • hahahahahahaha ok then nah, leh meh go and read it as usual eh Them really good yes.

    • Well I read the article and it is the same cry over and over and it is obvious that if the private sector and plenty more sponsors doesn’t get on board and the football doesn’t return to our communities, nothing will ever change with respect to the crowd attendance and ever winning anymore club championships nor qualifying for another World Cup any time soon again and the only thing will continue is for our players to be develop in a professional manner by the fooball academies and teams and get on the iron bird to my second sweetest country, Central/South America, Europe, and other real professional leagues in other parts of the World to continue to ply their trade at a very early age and of course for those who have the academics to also receive a football scholarship to attend school in my second sweetest country and then to continue on the road towards their football professional careers.

  9. The League and Clubs need to be run by Business persons, Marketing, Strategy etc, need to come from experienced business persons, preferably those with former experience in running a League and Club.

    You do not invest wisely, if you are investing because you like Lasana Liburd. You invest in Wired because of this business plan put forward to you, the board of the company’s competence, and the product.

  10. I thought the same thing….

  11. INTERESTING ARTICLE… i am however not in agreement with all points of view……… the one point that makes sense is Jamaal Shabazz last point……… dont give us the money but give us the land………. TALK DONE

  12. It is very demanding every weekend from the first sunday in march to the last game wich is in july an avrage of 5 months then for those who has continuity taking your youth team to the different youth leagues as a result of this the reserve league was moved out to much strain financialy on the clubs it is roughfly 15000.00 a month

  13. I like Shabazz’s final contribution to the article… Now I am all for the subvention but I think that we should at least get out of the dependency syndrome. I may get sticks for this but yuh see when people have to fight to make ends meet, the appreciation of modest results are great. Fuad Abu-Bakr you talk about TV sponsors, in this age of technology anybody could be a camerman. We post fights on fb everyday, why we can’t stream a pro league match! We streamed Machel Monday for God’s sake! Guaya Utd has their games streaming. Not the best quality but if I can’t make it to a match I watch on my phone. I like the idea of offering former players a chance to invest in the club. If a former pro league player really wants to invest once he has gone abroad and begins to earn dollars, allow him to buy into his favorite team… also from a marketing stand point… I haven’t been sold on a Pro League game for a while… I was willing to go to Arima to see NE the other day because of the hype about football coming back to the velodrome. That is what we need… sell me the product!… where are the poster boys?!… I can tell you people would be more inclined to go to an event once the feel some sort of connectivity to it… Sell some players as “Marquee” pro league players and build the interest of the league around them… hell that’s what the NBA does…

  14. Marketing and TV deal is needed. The community grounds are a good idea the grounds and the lights just need to be in order. The other stuff could be added on later.

  15. I would raise the subvention in the short term. Facilitate everything to create self sufficiency with strong clubs. Strongly encourage private sponsorship. Give the teams a financial base through stadium, business ownership. Whatever it takes real committment and resources must be invested. It cost T&T way more to jail the youths than develop them and guide them through sport.

  16. Yes , any money spent on sport is contributing to keeping young people away from trouble. The problem is corruption and our failure as a people to recognise that government money is our money, Your money, My money, Our Money.

  17. Name a sport and any country in the Caribbean that holds a 6-9 month league and is well attended and gets income…. We have to stop relying on gate receipts as the only form of income also I think the facilities/ venues were built for sports alone. If there were a few bars, restaurants, sport stores at the venues it may attract the festive crowd and not only the loyal fans.
    A supporter coming to watch pro league must be a sport fan, football fan, supporting local football and that pool is too small we must find a way to break this trend.
    If CPL was for 6-9 months they wouldn’t get good turn out for most games because we don’t support anything long term it seems.
    Anyway I see the Pro League as giving 500 persons a job and if the Government sees it that way then they will pay subventions.
    Yes of course the league can do better but it’s the culture that we need to fix before anything else.
    Lasana Liburd

    • The reality is from a competitive standpoint, the Pro League is too short. All our rivals are playing more domestic football than us.
      But I agree with you in terms of the issues Sherdon.

    • We keep measuring the league against international league without taking into consideration many things. If the league was only Made up of knock out games alone you would see people!
      Ask a party promoter what’s the difference of doing a party compare to promoting a club for parties every weekend

    • I like your ideas Pierre.

      I believe I constructed most of them in an inbox to Lasana just yesterday.

  18. T&T is run like a welfare state! It’s largely kept like this because the other option requires hard work & doesn’t give political parties absolute control or helps their financiers. TT Pro League is a necessity and requires reducing state intervention but they need the right foundation, tools, assistance, PUBLIC support….and I dare say better strategic leadership!

  19. And doh forget the soldiers to eh, who’s son is in jail for alledgely committing a murder again.? Them really good yes.

  20. Even the police playing in the pro league resorting to crime

  21. They really need to stop the exploitation of our players and pay them the real professional monies in the pro league eh because even some of our professional players are involved in criminal activities in order to make ends meet so I won’t be wasting my time to read the article eh.Them really good yes steeuuppss.

  22. It costs an average of 15,000 a month to run your youth program. And clubs put in that money

  23. Twiddling my thumbs. Seek more information

  24. i aint read the piece yet…
    but the GOTT is setting itself up with sports in T&T.
    There is absolutely NO WAY the current business/economic model is ever going to be profitable. NO. WAY.
    So, without a profit principle, the GOTT has no other choice but to prop up institutions like the TT Pro League.
    Where is the policy document that started this enterprise? What were the goals then? How were those goals managed? What was the annual, short term and long term feedback? What were the tweaks and tunes to policy execution and engagement that took place as feedback was evaluated?
    Tool to battle crime? LOL
    Listen…if i hear onnnne more sports body talk that ish bout saving people from a life of crime again i will commit a felony.
    CRIMINALS COMMIT CRIMES! Nothing to do with sports. Sports CANNOT STOP a criminal from criminaling. That very idea is foolish beyond measure.
    Anyway…lemme go and edit some photos!

  25. The public and the government need to no the importance of sports as a vehicle rowards helping keep the yourts out of crime a holistic approach is nedded especially in this testing time where the very frabic of society is riddle by crime the pro league has provided an income for hundreds of yiuthful players and staff members with out the help of the government it Will be taking away bread from alot of us .

  26. I see. Things we don’t think about is possible, and value beyond a ledger. That is wonderful.

    And yes, the model should be replicated. Imagine what that can do for the national team, but I have read you mention that ad nauseum.

  27. The Trinidad and Tobago public don’t want a Pro League and neither are they interested in one…

  28. No argument there Chabeth Haynes….there are deeper and wider issues here that the Pro League as a tool can’t solve by itself but I think there is merit in trying to find ways to make it sustainable.

    • I think there’s merit to making it sustainable too. I actually go to games. (And prefer them at the stadia than the community grounds.)
      But this isn’t the first bunch of comments I’ve made on the pro league. But I’m betting there are ppl in here wishing they would be my last! Lol.

    • …question…would it not be cheaper to maintain community grounds as opposed to rental of stadia for games? Most games don’t bring crowds that large to warrant a 25k capacity facility….but I can see where in terms of the positive projection of the overall product the stadia are better.

    • …many of these communal grounds have already received ‘upgrades’…lights, stands etc….some may need better change rooms and so on…but its doable and can get greater ‘ground swell support. I think a real assessment has to be done to determine statistically if the ‘community grounds’ will be better for the leagues sustainability while still being attractive to corporate Trinidad.

    • I think the community grounds are better for the league. I just prefer the stadia. ?

    • LOL…smh…I get you. So…as these are real concerns that may be shared across the wider community, it may actually make sense to investigate whether community grnds are actually better….many of them would require infrastructural upgrades to mirror the ‘comfort’ level of the stadia. Maybe the Regional corporations can undertake the upgrades and maintenance.

    • I could do without the bites from mosquitos or sandflies or whatever in Barataria. But I prefer the Arima Velodrome, Morvant Recreation Ground and Mahaica Oval (apart from the long drive) any day.
      It would be nice if there were media facilities so I could plug in my laptop at least.

    • Lasana Liburd irwin park … my beautiful irwin park….. if only your surface was properly done…….

    • Devon, true. I went there for the SSFL opening last season and it is a facility with a lot of pluses.

  29. …once you know one club going down and you safe there’s no incentive to to ‘play hard’ to see out the season…that ‘level’ of performance drops….that’s a negative for sponsors who want to see gates maintain….

  30. And some of these arguments aren’t very convincing.
    Talking about how many players on the national team passed through the pro league when we’re last in the hex isn’t going to make anybody jump up and throw money behind you.
    That actually might make somebody think it is a poor investment.
    And the crime argument… I know of kids as young as 7 paying older kids to beat up their nemesis. That crime mentality rears its head long before ppl reach pro league age. If you trying to stop crime with sport heavier investment as to come at a much younger age.

    • Pro League clubs have under-11 youth teams. A few of them made that point. So they do start young.
      Last in the Hex means you are in the top six from 35 CONCACAF nations eh. 😉
      Jamaica aren’t there. Neither Canada, El Salvador or Guatemala.

    • Right. And you don’t need 50k/mth to run a youth sport. So the money isn’t for the youth. Let’s keep it honest.

    • And ok to the glass half full mentality on our hex position. Lol.

    • They said the total cost of youth and senior team is around 130k. The 50k is less than half that.

    • Youth sport is not 50k/mth especially if they don’t have to pay to use facilities. Do they pay fees for rental of facilities? How much are they paying coaches? You telling your teams that don’t have pro league teams are running on 50k/mth?

    • No I am saying the Pro League clubs have expenses that are not just with their senior teams but their youth teams too. That’s all.

    • And I am saying youth teams don’t take 50k so don’t try to lump that in as justification for the 50k. That’s all.

    • Why not lump it in Chabeth? It is quite possible the youth team might be the first to go if they lose the subvention. Remember Central FC, for instance, already ‘outsource’ their youth team and only help the club with a few minor expenses as it is.

    • Having said that some teams have very active youth programmes. (I hasten to add! Lol)

    • Right. So if the youth teams are the first to go, then we know these owners just using the youth teams and crime argument to gain sympathy. So boo to them.
      And if that happens, then the government, through local government, can set up youth teams that will cost far less than 50k.

    • Like LifeSport? Haha. The government can’t do anything cheaper or better than the private sector. At least we should be able to agree on that.
      But if you have a business and part of it brings in money (cash prizes, player sales) and the other part doesn’t, won’t it be an easy choice if you couldn’t afford both?

    • No. Not like lifesport! Lol.

    • As our resident philosopher Vernal would say, the T&T govt could screw up a bread and bread sandwich. Lol

    • There are other sports in which the government pays ppl related to it. Not necessarily coaches though. But it can be done. I think.

    • Well, remember the govt doesn’t pay Pro League coaches or administrators though eh. The subvention goes strictly to players’ salaries.

    • No. I mean for youth teams. If pro league drops their youth teams, government can hire coaches to do youth football programs.

    • But now that we’ve noted that the subventions goes straight for players’ salaries, we can stop with playing the sympathy card and talking about what will happen to the youth if they lose their subvention… ?

    • Oh. Well fair point on gov’t paying youth coaches. But remember there are still competitions to enter, transport to games, refreshments, etc. It isn’t about just training them in then in the savannah.
      Don’t see how it is sympathy card though if youths getting a salary to do something positive. Even if you view it like URP when they are painting rocks, well okay. It is still positive. Look where Molino got to.

    • I’m using youth to refer to the youth leagues. Not to refer to young guys playing in the pro league. So when none of the 50k is going to youth leagues, then it’s disingenuous to talk about the impact on the youth programs if the subvention is stopped. That’s what I mean by playing the sympathy card.

    • I don’t think so. I think the 50k is keeping the Pro League teams alive. And once they are alive they can also run their youth programmes. Sure football will survive if the Pro League crashes but you will lose a lot of expertise and you won’t have people who dedicate as much time to it as they do now.

    • I want to believe that once clubs get their subventions the should have more funds available to run their youth program. Even though the club is getting the money for senior players salary. So if central has a budget of 100k to run their club and they get an exta 50k to pay players they can put aside 20k to see about the youths. So the 50k is helping, albeit indirectly.

  31. …definitely 2…its more inclusive while still making it competitive.

  32. I’d say just one or two relegated teams each season.

  33. Personally, I still think they need promotion and relegation with the Super League to help the league be more competitive and diverse. The relegated club must give up their subvention which would automatically go to the promoted club.

  34. ….or maybe all that (marketing plan/budget/execution) can come under the Pro Leagues purview so that it can ‘standardized’ throughout the league, venues and clubs. So ALL clubs, including the not so popular ones can benefit as well.

  35. LOL@Value for money is subjective….I know it appears that way but I’m basically spitballing here….these issues can be ironed out within the framework of the club/corporate sponsor relationship.

  36. Value for money is subjective. Somebody get this league a marketing expert.

  37. Community grounds sound nice but they must be economically viable…..that can earn revenue even outside of the regular season….that is the only way this league will survive, alongside corporate support that also gives value for money for the sponsor. Gov’t support should be in the form of guaranteeing wages and salaries but only in so far as clubs can service the ‘loan’. Now this calls for tremendous levels of oversight to ensure systems put in place for clubs’ survival are not abused…but that is the biggest fear with corruption so endemic in our society. The Pro League may want to consider a setup similar to the IPL or MLS (NBA etc) where the league pays salaries, manages the grounds in concert with clubs and submits to annual audits in accordance with basic fiduciary principles.

  38. Yes! Support the pro league