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In support of Maylee: T&T must compensate athletes for national service

After the call for employment from Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team football captain, Maylee Attin-Johnson, I had to comment; because it’s an area that I have always felt was a grave injustice to national athletes.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (centre) signals during their 1-0 FIFA Play Off defeat to Ecuador in Port of Spain on December 2. Looking on are teammates Arin King (left) and Kennya Cordner. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (centre) signals during their 1-0 FIFA Play Off defeat to Ecuador in Port of Spain on December 2.
Looking on are teammates Arin King (left) and Kennya Cordner.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

It is safe to say that many national athletes from different sporting disciplines have the same problem. As an ex-national hockey player, I understand the general sacrifices and commitment of the players.

While some people are asleep, most national athletes are up training to excel in his/her sport. After training they go to school and complete assignments or work an 8-4 job before returning to train again in the evening.

Yes, it is a choice they have made. But here is why they should be treated differently.

I made that choice. I got a field hockey scholarship and attended UMass (the University of Massachusetts) in the United States where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management before I did a MBA in Business Administration at Temple University and returned home.

I decided not to represent my country for my eight years at UMass so that I could focus on not only my studies but also NCAA competition. I also initially choose not to play for Trinidad and Tobago when I returned so I could concentrate on my career.

However, a change in jobs opened a window for me to return to the national team and, in my latter years as a player, I went on to play at the Commonwealth Games, Pan-Am Games, CAC games and qualify for a 2003 Indoor World Cup in Germany.

It was not easy though because there were many times when my responsibilities for my country clashed with my full-time job. After the World Indoor Games in Leipzig I quit and continued on my career path.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago hockey ladies prepare for international battle.
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago hockey ladies prepare for international battle.

There are many athletes who gave up their sporting duties for their career, which adversely affects the national team. But why should they have to choose?

Being a national athlete is a job and it is not easy to have two jobs at the same time. Wikipedia defines a job as an activity, often regular, and often performed in exchange for payment and any activity that requires mental or physical effort is work. By that definition we can conclude that all national athletes are working for their country; and most without pay.

When national players excel, the entire country benefits from the exposure and international recognition, which can lead to financial gain through tourism or sales for local companies who sell products overseas.

Brian Lara, George Bovell III, Ato Boldon, Keshorn Walcott and Dwight Yorke as well as our national football hockey, cycling, rugby, swimming, cricket and other sporting teams have, at one time or another, all brought positive recognition and marketed our tiny islands. Just like, more recently, the Ministry of Tourism used an exhibition football game against Argentina game to promote Trinidad and Tobago.

National players benefit from exposure and recognition in competing abroad; but they receive little to no financial gains. Why the imbalance? What are the reasons for not paying national athletes or ensuring that they are gainfully employed?

The imbalance occurs because there is rarely any recognition of the players’ value to their country.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago government feted Keshorn Walcott on his return from the London 2012 Olympics.
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago government feted Keshorn Walcott on his return from the London 2012 Olympics.

There is also the need for policies to ensure consistent performances from our teams and players. Consistency is defined as steadfast adherence to the same principles, course or form, which is needed in developing an athlete or team.

In my opinion, to ensure consistency in any athlete’s development, there needs to a balance of physical health, knowledge building, financial and family/love support. Should there be an imbalance of any of the four highlighted elements, inconsistency in performance will be the result.

In this blog, I am focusing on financial support, in the form of compensation or employment.

The Trinidad and Tobago government and National Governing Bodies (NGB) need to develop policies to ensure all national athletes are compensated for their services to country. We all recognize the value of a performing team and athletes. Therefore, we need to create a balanced environment through policies, which will support national athletes.

Being a national player is not a part-time affair, it is a full-time job and everyone else gets paid in their respective job. Athletes are required to train three to five days a weeks for two to three hours per session. We cannot seriously treat those athletes the same as everyone else in the workforce in terms of compensation and time off.

If we want our athletes to succeed, we either have to pay them to play or find jobs that would fit into their schedules. Without that, we are fooling ourselves and taking advantage of our national athletes.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago track star Jehue Gordon won gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championship in Moscow. (Courtesy Christianstt.com)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago track star Jehue Gordon won gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championship in Moscow.
(Courtesy Christianstt.com)

There are several government ministries with diverse employment opportunities that can benefit our national athletes. I suggest creating a job agency for them, which will assist in finding our athletes jobs based on their qualifications in an environment which will support their schedule.

I am not an advocate for mediocrity or entitlement. I am an advocate for excellence; and to excel requires balance.

You will note that I did not highlight the role NGBs should play in looking after athletes. That is another topic.

About Sherlan Cabralis

Sherlan Cabralis
Sherlan Cabralis is a UWI lecturer on Sports Management. She led the T&T hockey team to gold at 2002 CAC Games and was captain at the inaugural 2003 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany. She was NCAA First Team All-American and Atlantic 10 MVP for UMass and holds a Bachelor's and MBA in Sport Management and Business Administration respectively.

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  1. Football and cricket players already get per diems AND match fees. In theory anyway.

  2. I think per diems should be a flat rate Kester and sporting bodies that cannot afford to give players better should do so. Then we can have something separate for gold, silver and bronze or qualifying for a major competition like a World Cup or the Olympics.

  3. That’s a good suggestion Lasana Liburd where replacement labour is possible.

  4. My question though is this, I work with an official of thr NAAA so I’m aware of the logistical nightmares he has when they take 50 – 70 athletes to CAC, Pan Am, Jr. Pan Am, world Juniors etc. If the suggestion is to categorize the hand outs/per diems/stipends the track athletes many of whom are world ranked can demand higher stipends than all other national athletes.

  5. Wonderful discourse, I am still unsure about it though but I must admit the brain storming has left me further from an answer as most of the points are excellent.

  6. A stipend compensates them for their time. So that can be a consideration too. Our country can afford it. Although I agree that employment and flexible jobs might be the biggest priority.
    How about if the Government pays for replacement labour when national players are away from their jobs even in the private sector?
    That way another national benefits with a little extra money and work experience too and the disruption to the hiring company is minimised.

  7. I am of the firm view that all athletes who represent their country at tournaments abroad should be paid a stipend based on the number of days that they have to spend away from home. This stipend is to assist with expenses that they would not normally incur if they were in their country e.g. in a cold country you need proper clothing, items like chap stick, sometimes vitamins, items of other types of clothing and sometimes even food if you have allergies etc.
    Then there is the issue of having an employer who has nothing to gain by giving an athlete time off for national duty as opposed to an employer like Petrotrin who at one time absorbed the majority of this country’s national athletes in whatever jobs they were qualified to do so when you got your scholarship and returned home you would have received favourable consideration if there was an opening and then you would be given the necessary time off for training etc. I get the impression that this is no longer so but when I worked there, it was the norm.
    Then we have the incentives if you medal while representing the country and for the life of me, I cannot understand why some standard cannot be used depending on the level of the competition to say that if a national athlete wins a gold medal at Carifta he or she will receive $10,000, a silver medal $7,500 and a bronze medal $5,000 and this would pertain to all the sporting disciplines then if you win gold at the Olympics you will receive $100,000, silver $75,000 and bronze $50,000 and this will apply for all the disciplines etc as opposed to an athlete winning a medal and then all kinds of payments including house and land and the naming of planes and all kinds of incentives are given in no structured manner.
    I think Sherlan’s point is that for all the sacrifices that are made by athletes who very often love the sport and make sacrifices for the game, no consideration is given to them for promoting their country during their college years and when they take part in tournaments e.g. the Captain of the Ladies Soca Warriors feels that they have represented the country proudly and have obtained their degrees and they should be given permanent jobs in the fields in which they are qualified e.g. sports management in her case and in the case of Akheela Mollon, I believe it is psychology. To me, that is a very reasonable request especially if there are vacancies in the private or public sector. She feels that being a national athlete should count for something and I agree with her point of view because those athletes who study and train abroad add great value to our national teams when they represent the red, white and black because of their intense training and fitness levels when they are at college.

  8. But I think we deviate a bit from employment and flexible jobs to, money/stipend. Issuing a stipend doesn’t give the athlete more time to train and “excel”. How far can a stipend go ?

  9. Perhaps a stipend rather than a per diem is appropriate.

  10. Good point Brent. I say a minimum per diem for all national athletes. For the sporting bodies that can pay better like football and cricket, then let the do so. And priority housing and health care once you hit a certain number of caps be it 25 or what have you.
    Kenwyne Jones wouldn’t need it. But maybe a Marvin Phillip, Carlyle Mitchell or Devorn Jorsling would be happy for it.
    A job agency is an interesting suggestion too.

  11. I think the big issue is in most sports the athletes are considered amateurs. So for us to compare amateurs to professionals is not a good example. The Dream team that plays in the Olympics does not get the same treatment and accommodation as the field hockey team. Problem with this situatuon that we are proposing is funding sports but when you pick and choose you willl run into problems.

  12. I was wondering why go and invent the wheel because there’s a lil contradiction now in what u said in the comment before. You are correct we should really take the methods that have been successful and adapt to suit our needs. So you as an ex-national hockey player can probably point these young women in the right direction wrt Sports Management and creating employment for themselves.

  13. There is no comparison to me between the hundreds of hours of work to get on to a national team and welfare. When you are a waiter at a restaurant, a bank clerk or a receptionist, you have the benefit of meeting lots of different people too.
    But you still expect to be paid for your work.
    Is there a financial value for Trinidad and Tobago in what these athletes do? I think most people in marketing and tourism will say: Yes.
    If so, is it really unfair for athletes to expect more than just a trip?
    Who works for a company that doesn’t pay them when they are sent on overseas assignments?
    Steel pan players get a stipend for playing in Panorama and they deserve it.
    How can we tip the guy who carries our grocery bag to our car and yet find zero value in what athletes do when they represent the country? And that includes the ones who don’t medal.
    We can always set standards for compensation based on length of service, amount of caps and medals.

  14. They have years of advantage with their policies and professionalism in Sports. Sports Mgt started is 1966 in the US, 48 years ago. UWI started in 1999, 15 years ago as a minor. There are few trained sports professionals. You would agree that we need trained and qualified sports professionals to change the landscape of the sporting industry in TT. So, we can’t compare, we can learn from the more established countries and adapt to our culture and unique market and experiences

  15. Sherlan, pls explain what you mean by there’s no comparison with other 1st world countries.

  16. http://thefieldsofgreen.com/2014/06/10/world-cup-players-compete-for-country-and-bonus-money/ There is no comparison with other 1st world countries. We need to develop our own policies base on our athletes needs and unique experiences. A lot has been said from different angles, which is noted.

  17. Trinidad has a serious dependency culture and I’ll say no more.

  18. I think we’re all saying the same thing in different ways.

  19. Hard to disagree with Carlos Lee on that last point. I guess this is norm worldwide across many team sports mainly – indivdual competitors like track stars, tennis players don’t really have this issue. Even in 1st world nations you don’t get payed much if at all for representing your country. In most sports it the leagues/clubs that turn players into millionaries. Its an interesting dilemma which in football for example has led to UEFA deciding to scrap international friendlies & implement a national league from 2018 & the constant club vs country battles across many sports.

  20. Playing for ones national team is not a career. Players are not guaranteed a spot on a national team. It’s based on merit. If they perform consistently and have an impact on the team, they get selected. If they don’t they get the axe. Do you pay a player a salary every time he/she gets call up for duty? Do you find that player a job when he/she gets a potential one-off call up for duty? This is crazy. Who is going to foot the bill? This proposal to pay players sounds more like a Welfare Program. Another 10-days program. Another government handout. By playing for the national team, players are afforded an invaluable platform to showcase and market their themselves and their talents. It’s like posting your resume globally for the world to see. As a result of the global exposure, some players get professional contracts; some players get academic scholarships worth thousands of dollars; some get opportunities in the print and visual media as sports announcer, etc.; some get priority for jobs in their non-sporting disciplines, because the private sector often look favorably at having a “famous” colleague//athlete on their payroll. We don’t need a Welfare Program that pays national team players and perpetuates a dependency on the state, what is needed are programs that can educate our athletes about how to maximize and take advantage of the opportunities playing for the flag brings. Programs that teach them how to use their unique talents to market themselves to potential employers. Programs that teach them how to access academic scholarships. Programs that teach them how to negotiate with their employers, so that they can be afforded the time to train and represent the national team, without fear that they could be fired for failure to complete their tasks and responsibilities. It’s time we stop the gimme gimme syndrome that has been institutionalized by various governments. This dependency culture need to be curtailed.

  21. There is no lack of precedent for other persons such as Teachers, Police, Fire, Nurses who serve their country.. to get preferential treatment particularly when it comes to at least getting a ” a foot through the door” i.e Housing for example. There is even legislation which directs such.

  22. A post-mortem is definitely in order as you said, Savitri Maharaj…hopefully if they do it honestly, and establish some form of corrective action for the future, the team can really benefit.

  23. Yes Lasana Liburd based on education is one. To receive higher education is another. But what you doing with a guy who earns his one and only national cap at 35, with a substitute appearance ?

  24. It’s what the special consideration will look like is my concern. National athletes should be paid for training and playing. If we put things in place to educate them on financial management and have career services like in universities ok. It is the idea of “give them jobs” that concerns me

  25. I think the athletes should be compensated for their time and contribution

  26. Right now when the Gov’t feels like it, an athlete or team might get anything from $50,000 to a million dollar house and land. But shouldn’t we have something less arbitrary in place?
    I don’t think the point is to make national athletes millionaires. But if the volleyball team, for instance, spent those training hours packing bags at Hi Lo, they would be entitled to some compensation.
    So is there a value for representing your country?
    I don’t think they should get well-paid public sector jobs to do nothing either. But why not help them to get employment based on their education?
    For instance, all public sector workers are supposed to get priority for Gov’t housing because they are doing a service for their country.
    Would we say that national athletes also deserve priority? Or does noone’s contribution deserve special consideration?

  27. football should be their job. some of them are employable in other areas of competence, and they should be absorbed by the many state-run institutions. they do it in the UK, in many European countries, and the usual fall back of national service in the military.
    but they should be allowed to play, train and compete at the highest levels

  28. Trin I said a few comments down that the priority of the TTFA and players assn, if they are memebers should now be these ladies.

    They shold all sit together, do a post mortem of the whole journey, work on the weaknesses, there’ll be a lot of intl friendlies in the coming year and hopefully some will get club contracts thru exposure, others will be inspired to put their other talents to use elsewhere.

  29. Not only the government could provide employment…the private sector should take a chance on these bright young talented enterprising young ladies ..it could only be of benefit to your business ..these ladies are all class.

  30. Support for our players must involve (if not begin with) accountability and commitment from the people who receive funds to be used for the organisation of events and training for the players. With respect to T&T football, the TTFA have not shown any accountability and after they sent the #ttwsw abroad with $500 and a non-working credit card, we question their commitment… if we continue to let them disrespect our money and our national athletes, we are condoning their actions #investigate400k http://bit.ly/investigate400k

  31. How can you differentiate between national and non-national players to be part of this agency ? I think all athletes aspire to be national athletes one day. The TT ProLeague has about circa 250 men dreaming of joining the national team yet only about 5-10 make it sometimes. All of them need to train equally club level to get contracts and enter the national team…should such an agency find jobs to fit their training schedules, national or aspiring to be a national athlete ? There must be a criteria if such an agency is established, but education is more important.

  32. not like they have no education. damm shame she has to ask

  33. I think the agency is a good idea but education should take forefront in this agency. There’s also a need for diversity with respect to job oppurtunities. Teaching, physiotherapy, business (gyms, therapeutic shops, sport stores), event management are some flexible areas that allows athletes to train and work at the same time. Yes it’s tough, but there are other citizens who have sacrificed and struggled to get qualifications (sometimes in worse off situations) and cannot get jobs…being a national athlete should not exempt you with respect to job opportunity.

  34. Yes, he/she is an national athlete. Ask yourself, how long do you think that athletes would have to train to get 2 caps?!

  35. Sherlan I agree with your article’s points, especially about finding viable forms of employment that compliment athletes schedules. While it is indeed an honour to represent your nation it is not a privilege as many ppl seem to think it is. Privilege is defined as a right, immunity or benefit enjoyed by a person beyond the advantages of most. Most national athletes work very hard and make tremendous sacrifices to make the team to represent T&T so it was something they earned not a wish that they were granted. There are players who take their vacation leave and at times no-pay leave to represent the country yet when we return many athletes still have a fight on their hands to make ends meet while still trying to make the national team training commitments.

  36. I think Ms. Sherlan Cabralis point goes deeper than what most are thinking. It’s not a matter of being a national athlete and getting a job.

  37. No long speech., we in 2015 get it together wtf., shit is as easy as using a smart phone. Pay de people their money..

  38. sticky issue………should the job match the result/accomplishment……should winning CFU get a player the same type of job as winning a world cup qualification slot……what about the reverse only select players who earned a job based on their academic qualifications………where do we go…..who is to say?

  39. The reality is that the majority of national sports do not receive any compensation (match fees etc.) but are expected to perform at the highest levels and bring home medals (not just participate) while working an 8-4 job/studying, and training 3 hours a day (as Sherlan pointed out). It goes as far as some athletes not even being afforded the time off from their schools/employers to participate in international tournaments and if they do they run the risk of failing classes, loss of income or even unemployment. We have reached the point (or possibly this point had already arrived in the past but is only coming to the forefront now) where athletes are forced to withdraw from national representation way before their prime because of educational and financial distress and, in the end, T&T is not always able to field its best team.

  40. I still ask the question; if an athlete has 2 national caps, 5 years apart, should they fall under the umbrella of “national athlete” ?

  41. give the girls jobs, if they had won would they not be heroes [sic] why we don’t appreciate sports people? these girls under the radar with no money really made us proud and brought us together even if for one day. they thiefing so much money and giving thier friends jobs who never ever contribute anything to our country

  42. If the various sporting bodies and players associations had programs in place to assist these athletes we wouldn’t be having this convo now. The priority for the TTFA now is to assist those ladies who would like to pursue a fulltime career in football.

    • Many people say this is as if it’s solely a case of negligence why our sporting organisations aren’t self funded. I don’t think it’s that simple at all. For an organisation to fund itself it requires (and I am just ‘common-sensing’ here because I have no expertise or expert knowledge in this area) corporate funding, a society willing to spend on merchandise and product and successful teams/individuals. I don’t know how that troika could ever happen in this country.

  43. I’m sorry but I beg to differ with the author, although many valid points were raised i wonder how the Government finding jobs for athletes would free them up to train sufficiently? Are they going to be part time employees drawing full pay, that’s a sure wired 868 expose in the making. Trinbagonians believe that because we think it should be so then it makes sense. You are an athlete because you love a sport and wish to excel at it, because of your performances you are selected to a national team to represent your country, if you are lucky enough as many of us were not you get to represent at senior level and earn match fees. The onus is on the the athlete to secure their livelihood and career, not the Government or private sector. Whether you excel or not win national awards/cash compensation/homes or not an athlete is still a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and still responsible for their life choices. If our sporting athletes are going to ask for jobs because they bring notoriety and international attention to Trinidad then we should start putting and agency and policies in place for when Machel and Bunji and Anya Ayoung-Chee start looking for jobs too.

  44. Sherlan – Your overall conclusions clearly came through in your blog. You advocated that national athletes should be paid or be afforded gainful employment. I’m disagreeing with you on the former and to some extent in the latter. It’s an honor to represent the flag of your country. It’s an honor that only a privilege few get a chance to do. What’s great is that the honor brings enormous opportunities. However, most athletes are not sufficiently savvy and aware to make use of the exclusive opportunities they are afforded. As a result, sporting bodies should implement viable programs to educate their athletes about these opportunities so that they can take advantage of them.

  45. Sherlan Cabralis

    This is not about hand outs. Treat athletes with respect to ensure we get the results we want. It’s not only about the sport. It’s about human development. My focus is on developing policies for national athletes. We need to discuss the possibilities and review the returns on investments (ROI). What we invest in the athletes will impact on the returns. I made some suggestions, which I stand by. But, it’s really a point for discussions and I take note of the comments.

  46. I am sorry that u did not get my overall conclusion. I stated that an agency should be set up to assist national athletes to find jobs that fit their schedule. We want excellence on the pitch and don’t realize that it takes long hours, commitment and finance to be the best on the pitch.

  47. There appears a large consensus view that athletes be compensated for national service. I cannot in good conscience fully endorse the view. The writer of the article made good solid points to postulate her view, but in my opinion there is a marriage between those who believe that representation of one’s country is an honour and those who are of the view that athletes must be compensated.
    There are millionaires from the NBA who trip over themselves to gain a medal representing the US. In football David Beckham would give an arm and leg to play once again for England. Yes, in the sporting world representing one’s country is a matter of pride and patronage. Dedication to national service in sport is no different to giving one’s life in times of war. The provision of proper accommodation and transportation (inclusive of meals) and adequate stipend payment should be sufficient enough.
    Taking the points raised by Savitri (Maharaj); Carlos (Lee) in an amalgamated viewpoint there needs to be some understanding as it relates to sporting investment. Yes Carlos I agree playing for your country gives the athlete the break, the exposure. This brings home the point raised by Savitri, where are the organisations and national bodies in all this?
    These organisations should be responsible for guiding athletes in financial and career matters. These said organisations should be investing and marketing the relevant disciplines. Be it partnering with corporate sponsors or collaborating with agents to ensure athletes are well represented. This in fact ties in with Ms. Cabralis’ point of having agencies sadly they exist but remain comatose in actual functioning.
    Because of financial disadvantage and lack of opportunity many of us could not represent our country in sport; but our efforts to build our country through different means and raise its standards should in no way be less than any athlete. You were given a stage and should be exploiting the opportunity for sponsorship and securing a future. Many athletes abroad have never finished school but are well off, it’s just marketing systems in T&T are lacking. It is akin to saying that the University you graduated from should secure you a job, since your performance continued to uphold the high standards of University and may in some instances bring acclaim either academically or in sport.

  48. “I am not an advocate for mediocrity or entitlement. I am an advocate for excellence; and to excel requires balance.” I think the author should remove the word “not” from the first sentence and move it to the second sentence, for her entire article suggests she’s an advocate for an entitlement system. While national team players deserve some type of honorarium for their services, they absolutely should not be paid a salary for representing their country. Absolute nonsense. Playing sports and being good enough to be selected to represent your country or your school creates opportunities for you. In the case of the author her talent provided her the opportunity to pursue a quality tertiary education at a premier US college. Because of her talent her college picked up the tuition and fees cost, which probably added up to well over $200,000 US. Her education degrees then afforded her the opportunity to secure a well paying job, so that she could provide for herself and her family. She later represented TNT, which created additional opportunities for her and her teammates. Some athletes are smart enough to see these opportunities and take advantage of them, while others are totally clueless. Our national athletes should not be paid for their services to school and country, but should be educated on how to maximize and seize the numerous opportunities that will come their way as a result of their unselfish service to the flag.

  49. I forgot to add that the Captain, Ms Attin Johnson appears to be a person of the highest quality. Each time I hear her speak it’s like listening to a great motivational speaker. She would be an asset to any organisation.
    If the Government is so minded, I think she could easily be used as someone to develop or execute a training programme for our athletes to develop the character of our athletes. I know, or at least I read, that UTT has a programme like that. So, get her on board.

  50. I can’t get with this at all. At times, one feels athletes in Trinidad and Tobago really buy into this idea that this is an incredibly wealthy country where we can provide everything for everyone. Many would disagree but I think the State does a lot for athletes and sport. There has to be a sacrifice and it is unreasonable to expect or demand the State to finance that sacrifice for all and sundry.

  51. If we want to produce competitive, world class athletes it has to be.

  52. Picking up a Jones jersey is all well and good but therein also lies the problem… remember when supporter picked up their ‘Akeem’ Jerseys??… Right now I wanna buy a white Joma “Leston Paul” bad… but how O so sure his hotel feez gettin paid with my $450?.. dem money smart and mine chupid??… orrrr… TTFA have too much skullduggery yes… I rather buy the jersey offa LP back… that way I sure he eatin a food…

  53. I think it is very well written. The fact is, there are many international sporting events which our athletes have to take part in on a yearly basis, you would want your best possible athletes to represent Trinidad and Tobago. Most times they have to take their vacation time to represent the country. Sometimes the best players can’t go because of work. There has to be a way to find a balance so that these athletes can represent their country while still having a job upon their return.

  54. Sherlan Cabralis

    The US field hockey team lives together all expenses paid with a stipend during preparation for tournaments. The players commit 4-8 years of their lives with this type arrangement. Most non-professional sports have the same arrangement in the US.

  55. Sherlan Cabralis

    It’s unfortunate that we only focusing on the athlete getting paid. I also suggested to establish an avenue to find jobs, which will accommodate the athlete’s schedule.

  56. Great article. There is need for more professionals like Sherlan to come to the forefront on this issue. Athletes are generally not paid although they bring exposure, recognition and profits through tourism to the country. They immensely contribute to the country so why not assist with jobs for those who are qualified? I not only think it is fair, it is also the just thing to do.

  57. True, I think it’s a bad idea. That would kill the Olympics, because we know how majority of pro Athletes act….

  58. I thought the author made some good points.

  59. I think athletes are paid depending on the marketability of the sport generally. But if someone the Ministry of Tourism went to Argentina or a pan side or tassa team went to China to represent T&T, they would receive something for their time.
    So why not athletes?

  60. I actually don’t know of a country that pay athlete to compete for their country. The USA don’t even do that, you have to medal to get paid…

  61. Yes for success. Competing for your country should be an honor in itself. Every sport have a professional league where athlete can make money…

  62. So the pay will be for success and not for time spent rehearsing to represent your country then?

  63. I disagree with this competing for your country should be an honor. If athletes want to get paid they should go pro. I do however feel if they medal they should get some money or property but not paid just to compete for your country…

    • Sherlan Cabralis

      Many sports are not professional and most professional sports have limited options. Did you know that less than 1% of college athletes make it to the pro? I am also an advocate for paying college athletes

  64. Somehow there seems a disconnect when it comes to the public asserting its wishes on the Government though. But I agree with your point.

  65. Yes…. we love to spend money in bars when we win. Even we lose or draw we drinking. Why don’t we spend some of that money on our athletes. Pick up a JONES jersey before a ROONEY. Simple things like that

  66. Has to be.That’s the backbone.

  67. So you think step one would be the sport fans then Jason Andre Wickham?

  68. Sherlan has some good points here. My personal view is that the money should be focused on the development side but that isn’t happening either.

    • When I thought about it; if a Gov’t employee or even a pan side or tassa group when they travel to represent T&T abroad, they would be paid for their time.
      So is it so revolutionary to have something in place for national athletes?
      I can see a very interesting debate about this. But it would be revolutionary because it would require a whole new mindset from Gov’ts when they sit down to craft budgets.

  69. We need less government involvement in sport and more corporate involvement. More can be done with branding and marketing. Make our athletes famous. Politicizing sport has lead us to a grave mess. T & T nationals love wearing Man U and Chelsea jerseys. The government is not solely responsible for us loving our country. We fill the stadium for big name artistes. When we the citizenry start supporting our local brand and talent, athletes would not be prostituting themselves to wear the red white and black.

  70. I know all too well about this!

    • I agree the athletes should be paid, this remains the major issue between us and countries the likes of the USA and others. But once taxpayers money involved their books should be opened to the public.