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Too late for Ma Pau; Pro League starts new season with 10 clubs

The Pro League board yesterday made its final decision on the Ma Pau Sports Club’s application to join the domestic top flight. And the verdict is the prospective Pro League outfit was unable to convince the board members within an appropriate timeline.

Photo: Central FC attacker Ataulla Guerra (second from left) gestures to the crowd during a Pro League match against San Juan Jabloteh. From left are teammates Darren Mitchell, Jason Marcano and Kevon Villaroel. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC attacker Ataulla Guerra (second from left) gestures to the crowd during a Pro League match last season against San Juan Jabloteh.
From left are teammates Darren Mitchell, Jason Marcano and Kevon Villaroel.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

So, Ma Pau will not be involved in the 2015/16 Digicel Pro League season.

“The Pro League discussed the application and decided not to consider them for 2015/16,” Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene told Wired868. “They are free to re-apply next year like any other club… (The problem) was the timeline basically.”

The Pro League season starts today with the Digicel Charity Shield, which will be contested by defending league champion club Central FC and DIRECTV W Connection from 7 pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

The clubs who will compete in the Pro League this season are: Central FC, W Connection, Defence Force, North East Stars, Police FC, San Juan Jabloteh, Point Fortin Civic, Morvant Caledonia United, St Ann’s Rangers and Club Sando.

Whether or not Ma Pau still wants to compete in the Pro League is another story as the club issued a press release on Wednesday that expressed its dissatisfaction with the application process and its split from coach Terry Fenwick, who was involved in its push to return to the football league.

Photo: Former Central FC coach Terry Fenwick. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Central FC coach Terry Fenwick.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Ma Pau’s request for funding from the Ministry of Sport led to a clash between former Advisor to the Minister of Sport, Kevin Harrison, and Fenwick while the wanna-be Pro League club also claimed a fraudulent application was made, on its behalf, for $150,000 for youth development.

“From recent reports in the press, it would appear that Ma Pau has somehow unwittingly become caught up in the imbroglio between Terry Fenwick and other persons unconnected to Ma Pau and the Ministry of Sport,” stated the Ma Pau release issued by manager Sherry Persad. “… Ma Pau wishes to place on record that Mr Terry Fenwick is not now nor has been the Coach of Ma Pau SC.

“Mr Fenwick sought to enter into an arrangement with Ma Pau to manage the Football team if it were elected into the Pro League. The team was not and our arrangement with Mr Fenwick ended.”

The Ma Pau release erroneously stated that the club was rejected by the Pro League almost two weeks ago. And, under that assumption, the Ministry of Sport’s Permanent Secretary Gillian Macintyre withdrew State support for the club’s Pro League bid.

In fact, the Pro League only gave its final verdict on Ma Pau’s application yesterday.

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

Full Ma Pau press release:

From recent reports in the press it would appear that Ma Pau has somehow unwittingly become caught up in the imbroglio between Terry Fenwick and other persons unconnected to Ma Pau and the Ministry of Sport

An examination of the history of this matter is necessary so as to bring proper perspective to the public matter. Ma Pau Sports Club is an organisation which gave years of service to the poor and downtrodden from depressed communities in Trinidad and Tobago. This football club has previously operated in the Pro League.

However, for reasons which are not now relevant Ma Pau Sports club took a hiatus from the Pro League. As is customary with arrangements of this kind, Ma Pau asked that its status as a Pro League club be voluntarily suspended for the usual period.

After some time Ma Pau Sports club applied to the pro league to be rejoined as a member. At the same time Terry Fenwick applied to the Ministry of Sport for a registration grant to be paid in order to facilitate the club in rejoining the Pro League.

Photo: San Juan Jabloteh scorer Tyrone Charles (left) celebrates his goal against Caledonia AIA with teammate Newton Sterling during the 2014/15 season. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: San Juan Jabloteh scorer Tyrone Charles (left) celebrates his goal against Caledonia AIA with teammate Newton Sterling during the 2014/15 season.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The grant funding was indeed paid by the Ministry to facilitate the payment of the registration fee. However, it was subsequently communicated to us by the Pro League that Ma Pau’s application was rejected by a vote of 3 against 1 for and 1 abstention. In the circumstances Ma Pau immediately issued a cheque in the identical amount to return the funds to the Ministry.

Thus, in this regard Ma Pau stands entirely blameless.

Ma Pau wishes to place on record that Mr Terry Fenwick is not now nor has been the Coach of Ma Pau SC. Mr Fenwick sought to enter into an arrangement with Ma Pau to manage the Football team if it were elected into the Pro League. The team was not and our arrangement with Mr. Fenwick ended.

The police has shown our ex-chairman, Mr Kenroy Phillips, an application for $150,000.00 for the development of youth football. Mr Phillips has confirmed that the signature which purports to be his on the application is indeed a forgery.

Ma Pau FC (sic) has never requested such monies from the Ministry nor has it received any such monies.

This apparent attempt to defraud the Ministry by the use of a forged application herein is known to the Police. Ma Pau expects the police to conduct a swift and fair investigation into this matter and to bring to justice the perpetrators of this dastardly act.

Photo: W Connection right back Alvin Jones (left) fires his shot past San Juan Jabloteh left back Calib Sturge during 2014 First Citizens Cup action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection right back Alvin Jones (left) fires his shot past San Juan Jabloteh left back Calib Sturge during 2014 First Citizens Cup action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Ma Pau is well known throughout Trinidad and Tobago as being a leader in the area of social responsibility of corporate entities. Ma Pau has consistently invested in communities and individuals.

Ma Pau takes very seriously its role and responsibility of assisting the underprivileged of society and generally of serving the society as a whole. Ma Pau has spent the last twenty years cultivating its excellent name and reputation and its staff, management and customers are indeed saddened to see that an attempt to sully this good name is being made by the fraudulent act of some.

Over the years, Ma Pau has built a pristine name synonymous with fairness, integrity and a commitment to social responsibility and will not lightly tolerate any attempt to sully this good name and reputation.

About Lasana 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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  1. Yuh know before I read these last few comments, I was thinking who’s gonna have the last word here….looks like me…lol 😉

  2. I so knew you would say that! Hahaha! I’m dying here…

  3. And so female… You won’t let me get the last word either! Hahaha

  4. (LOL. Let’s call truce he says after he’s sure to get in the final word! Hahahaha! So male…)

  5. Lol. Trinidad and Tobago is an unhealthy nation. And one that cannot afford to educate the majority if its secondary school graduates.
    Sport helps in both areas. But let’s call that truce in truth. 😉

  6. Lasana Liburd, like I said… insurmountable impasse.
    You cannot convince me that a developing economy should give privately owned businesses in any sector thousands of dollars every month forever. There is no expiration date on these subventions.
    And not to blast football (at the risk of all of you shooting me in the head) but the return on this investment hasn’t been particularly great. We’ve qualified for one WC. There are other sports that get significantly less financial support from the government and have produced better results for the country. There has to be a better way to promote the one sport of football in the country.
    Seriously though, if we continue this debate, it would be like four or five days we’re stuck on this one topic. We’re not going to agree, that’s all, which is fine I’m used to guys being wrong and strong. LOL. (Just joking… can y’all take jokes when they’re about football?) I really think we should call truce though. And y’all can all shake your heads at me and mumble whatever it is you guys are truly thinking. lol.

  7. Before the turn of the millennium Chabeth Haynes, most of the European nations had an Army team that had all the country’s best players and was the bedstone of their football. That was direct Government money into a club and it would have spread throughout the league too.
    Because that was the only way for nations like Romania and so on to keep pace.
    Not every industry is the same. Many country’s nationalise vital industries like water and gas and so on. And many countries understand that sport should be treated the same way.
    That’s the crux of the matter. In most parts of the world, sport is considered to be a key industry. You can go back to Roman times when the great old empire made sure to bankroll sport. The British Empire did it. Brazil did it.
    Hell, the United States STILL does it. Even billion dollar American sports like NFL still gets direct investment from various cities and depend on it.
    Beats me why the Pro League, still in its infant stage, should be left to sink or swim.

  8. And how much money are the governments of those countries giving to these privately owned clubs? Every month. In perpetuity.
    Thank you all for the discussion but it seems we’ve reached an insurmountable impasse.
    Maybe one day you will all see the light and come crawling over to my side. LOL. 😀

  9. Chabeth, There are few clubs around the world that are profitable even in the big European leagues it is just a few of them that turn a profit. The MLS for example averages 17K attendance and has not been doing well. it is just a handful of teams that turned a profit for the first time last year I think. In England and Scotland we often hear of teams in serious financial trouble and being sanctioned by the FAs. So even with the $80+K a month injection from the GOv’t pro-league clubs in my view probable still need another $50 – $60 K a month to cover operational expenses. Do some simple math, conservatively 20 player roster with 7 staff @ $5000/month is $135,000.00. Not included are stipends for Reserve league players, transport cost, rental of venue for games and practice or game day preparations, equipment laundering and match day staff. The list could be extensive but pulled out the bigger cost items. The players and league by extension MUST become more attractive in an effort to get bodies in the stands. It would mean better youth development, coaching education programs everything that makes the product desirable. There must be bigger and better private sector involvement. Radio and specifically TV (international) is a must because $40 at the turnstiles won’t scrape the bottom of the barrel to pay bills.

  10. Chabeth the government cannot take over the pfl it’s unconstitutional fifa forbids that league’s have to be independent with a board in place to run it what the government can do is work alongside clubs to assist in allocation of state lands to build or refurbished community grounds

  11. Jamaal, these club owners are not even breaking even. They are operating businesses that continue to run at a loss. Somebody needs to intervene.
    I do hope that this government does something to develop sport further and to empower clubs.
    Like I said, I have no problem with clubs getting leased land. I think it would help greatly with encouraging the public to attend the matches. As it is right now, I have no clue when the league starts so I can’t even pretend that I will be coming to a game.

  12. Urmm…Lasana, it wasn’t me promise…I never mentioned youth league. All my contributions were about the senior league.

  13. On the Ma Pau own land thing that cannot happen under my watch. The SJLRC would have had to put a Board in place made up of the stakeholders to administer control of the facility. Trust me of they do not want to see a next side of me Delamo lone ranger tonto who cannot give Ma Pau the land. I agree we let the SJLRC set up a Board.
    Govt dont have to own the league again it suggesting that Eric Williams children cannot with proper guidance own nutten oh gawd.
    There must be criteria for funding I agree again .
    The PNM have a chance to build the sports industry in critical sports like basketball hockey netball and offcourse football.
    Using community facilities and existing entities.

  14. The SIS people don’t own Central FC? You want to give them more land?
    If I were the government I would lease everybody the land for $1 and build the pavilion/stadium for you. Plus pay the electricity bill.
    I have no issue with the pro league. I have an issue with giving rich people $87,000 every month, indefinitely, because they cannot run their businesses properly. That is my issue. Not the pro league, I’m not trying to take anything away from “poor people.”

  15. Jamaal,
    1. I do not want the government to stop the Pro League. I don’t know where you got that from. I want the government to stop giving rich people money because they cannot run a profitable business. I would prefer the government take over the whole pro league, hire managers for each club who run the clubs, revamp and market the whole pro league so that it becomes a profitable venture.
    2. I agree with you on land and independence. But if the government had given Ma Pau land for example and the club became inactive, what would have happened? Are players shareholders in these clubs? If the government gives clubs land, do players become land owners? Or is it the already rich people who own the clubs who will be further enriched by getting land?

  16. SIS get land a Guyanese buisnessman I know get 200 acres and we have to wait in line. This not adding up the maths different for the rich and affluent and their sports. 1 and for them is 11 and 1 and 1 for us is not even 2. All I saying is give us the land dont even build the stadium . We will beg borrow and thief to build it. We want to be like Queens Park. Can anyone say how Queens Park get their land please.

  17. Remember we dont have any swimming pools and pool table in we house. We barely have water to bathe. The only pool we know is the blasted racing pool hoping the horse pull we out. And you want Govt to stop this thing with the Pro League.

  18. The way I look at it land is the basis of independence. The discussion could get to philosophical if we cannot clearly identify how the distribution on entitlement to grounds within the community is dealt with. How Preysal and them end up with their grounds but as is Eric Williams children is a big broo ha ha. We 80 percent in the jails and the mad house. We 80 percent eating out of the garbage cans. 10 of us living in a two bedroom house so our Recreation on the streets we must get in trouble. Up comes a slave begging for land to create recreation and economic activity and more red tape. Only Eric Williams children

  19. Savitri Maharaj, I have just confirmed with Pro League CEO that the board discussed the Ma Pau application for the senior league. Not the youth.
    In fact he laughed at the suggestion.
    Please, I cannot go on rebutting Guardian stories. So I ask them to follow the principles of good journalism. And I ask people to be wary of rumors.

  20. Jamaal, give land? No. Lease land? Yes, with conditions of course. The government cannot give pro league clubs land because there is no guarantee that a pro league club will stay active and once you give the land it becomes the property of the club even if the club is not active.
    But absolutely every club should have a home ground, that is properly lit etc etc.

  21. And if Caleidona had it’s own field from the beginning of the professional league eh, Prof Jamaal Shabazz would have won many more championships already so now that the PNM is back in the power the both fields will be built again for the betterment of our football and to deter the crime situation and the two fields that I am speaking about is one in Morvant and the other in San Juan, bourg malatrese.

  22. Again when we do not own land we are slaves so we cannot control the fixtures. Chabeth would Govt giving land to pro clubs in a community to build a stadium be a travesty or a step towards us becoming self sufficient. You see how I on my knees begging. There will come a time when I will go and take the land . Wait I hope Chabeth then Charlie King dont come. Because with our own grounds we can generate income

  23. Wait a minute the bootleg professional league starting in October eh and Keron Ball pest Cummings on a try out in Orlando eh, and the other wing back who is with the team in Chicago eh did he finally got the clearance to play for the professional team eh and the Soca Worries first World Cup qualifying game against my American team is in November in our sweet country. Them really good yes

  24. Through the media. Or the clubs.

  25. Ok, so how do they inform the public of when and where the games are?

  26. The main reason for the issues with fixtures is that teams do not own their grounds. So stadiums often cancel for all sorts of reasons.

  27. 15 years of doing the same thing…are the same people in charge here too?

  28. Chabeth Haynes, I’ve been covering the Pro Leagues for years. I have never once known them to stick to fixtures.
    Three or four days before the game, they send an email out saying where everyone is playing.
    We know this league well. Sheldon Scipio knows it well too. Jamaal Shabazz knows it well.
    Teams have been added this late before. They simply chose not to do so this season as is their right.

  29. Watch nah Chabeth, I have some questions re that statement from them…but it where will it get us when we never hear the truth, everyone covering their a$$es?

  30. Savitri, I just checked the pro league website. they have fixtures up. I don’t understand how a team can be added at this point.
    I think a lot of the confusion stems from Ma Pau themselves. I don’t know if the really understand what is going on and so when they speak it confuses everybody. The pro league is giving me a headache. lol

  31. Chabeth, what we need to do is sit down with all the articles relating to this matter and re-write it…lol…seems a lot of confusion is being created to baffle the masses

  32. I didn’t create the policy Chabeth. I’m just telling you what was said to exist.

  33. Lasana Liburd, if i respond to your comment as I should we are going to have another two day battle on a second thread about the same issue, so I’m just gonna leave it alone. lol

  34. Sheldon, would you be surprised if Ma Pau was admitted at this stage?

  35. Their application needed to meet certain financial criteria Chabeth Haynes. I was told there was a service level agreement which stipulated that the cheque would be returned if Ma Pau was not accepted.

  36. There won’t be a league game until October? So what’s happening between september 15th and October?
    And if the original decision was not to let Ma Pau in, and the final decision confirmed that, then why did the ministry write a cheque?

  37. Lasana, I don’t think you would deliberately mislead, is just sometimes sauces are anonymous for a reason…lol

  38. Yes Sheldon, and we keep doing the same thing and not getting very far. This thing is not rocket science inno…Why can’t they take pattern from the EPL? Does that system not work? Players in the EPL were away on international duty last week…but if the PL start earlier, it will keep the players in form.

  39. Yes, what I was told came from an anonymous source. So if I was misled that isn’t intentional.

  40. Savitri I believe Ma Pau could have entered the League, for the league to improve we need more competitive teams. A win or be demoted system also must be put in place. We will not play a league game tiil maybe October, and we have player with teams missing for a week or 2 before.

    I do not have the facts on what happened, but all does not seem regular. The league can meet even now to accommodate this

  41. Yes, I saw you mentioned the fraud squad issue on one of the threads

  42. If there is fraud here, then I hope the police investigates and lays charges. From the appliers to the PS and everybody in between. But I think I have quoted reputable sources.
    In terms of the police investigation, I was told by a Gov’t official that it wasn’t the fraud squad that was probing. Someone who isn’t as close to it said otherwise and that it is the fraud squad.
    I genuinely don’t know. I’ve given about as much info as I can on this matter.

  43. Is appears all politics uncle Earl, see my comment above ^

  44. Ok…but don’t be too surprised if Ma Pau is now granted permission. Then that would throw this whole convo out the window…lol

  45. It seems to me that the professional league board doesn’t want Terry Fenwick and his club Mau Pau to be in the league. Them really good yes

  46. The Pro League CEO said before that no decision is final really because they try to give teams as much opportunity as possible to prove they should come into the league.
    You might also say the key phrase is “to bring a conclusion.” If the matter was done and dusted, there would be no reason for a conclusion to it.
    In any case, Dexter Skeene said clearly to me that the matter was not finished and the Pro League did not send the Sport Ministry notification to that effect before.

  47. Lasana “Stuck” is the operative word in you comment above eh…meaning the decision was made and now reinforced.

  48. Maybe the reporter is getting her story from a different source Lasana? hhm…looks like everyone’s seeking their own sefish interest eh?

  49. Exactly! But the attorney or Corporate Secretary, as they are called, has to complete the legal side of it, draw up contract, searches etc.

  50. Keith Clement, I just called the deputy chairman of the Pro League board David John Williams. He said the Ma Pau matter was on the paper for discussion at its board meeting this week so as to bring a conclusion to it.
    And the Pro League board stuck by its former decision that it was too late to consider it for this season. Not youth team but the senior team.
    Savitri Maharaj, I really don’t know what to say again. I spoke to the Pro League CEO, I spoke to a club member and I spoke to a deputy chairman.
    What else can I say? I know there are always people who try to misinform for their own reasons. But why is Guardian getting such different information from me and yet I can name my sources?

  51. But DeLamo said the SJLRC was awaiting advise from their attorney…..if that’s the case why give tentative that could backfire because of the nature of the request..which is also a critical requirement of the League…..having a venue

  52. But I’m not saying that it probably wasn’t discussed and tentative approval decided. It’s just that the CEO shouldn’t be making statements of that nature until it is signed and stamped…*sigh*

  53. No they don’t Keith…and in my comment elsewhere I was about to mention Committees too…but decided against confusing the issue further. The CEO is Administrative heads, but attends council meetings to be kept abreast of activities, because at the end of the day they are the ones responsible…it’s really a silly situation…because Party politics always come in to play…The CEO acts as a “buffer” between the Council on Public Servants.

  54. Savi I had applied to the CEO of the PoS Corp for use of Public Courts a few months ago…..and it was the chairman of the Sports Committee who responded to me and said “The Sports Committtee” approved your application…..it really appears that the CEOs of Corps….don’t have that power…….

  55. She spoke to the Councillor for the district…and there could be a lot of friction between the Executive/Administrative branch…lol…it happens in all Corporations…*sigh*

  56. Lasana let’s take a bet you’re very close to clubs just as I am…..you get a copy of the minutes of the August Meeting and I wrong I buy you drinks for ah week……Lol

  57. Yup Lasana, that’s why there are always questions and hence my suggestion above. Can I be the mediator?

  58. I hear the same as Keith Clement about the time frame for the decision. I heard 3 weeks tho, the decision wasn’t made this week

  59. Why does Guardian think it knows what is happening in the Pro League with Ma Pau’s application better than the Pro League CEO?

  60. Keith Clement I spoke to Dexter Skeene yesterday and he didn’t say what you are saying at all.
    So please quote people if you are trying to contradict the story. You mean the Pro League CEO didn’t understand what was going on in the meeting that he chaired?
    The Pro League youth season finished about two months ago. And Skeene has said repeatedly that the vote taking two weeks ago was not final.
    Now Savitri Maharaj, this is the problem I have. I just read Dowlatt’s story that quotes a member of the corporation and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she is doing some good dogged investigative work.
    But when I see stuff like this it seems more like people are trying to do a take down job and confuse readers.

  61. Ms.Haynes teh Pro League voted 3-1 that Ma Pau will not be in the Pro League more than 2 weeks ago……what they voted on on Thursday was if they Youth Team should play…..that the “TRUTH” .

  62. Hahaha! We talking about transparency, now you telling me about Sheldon losing his job Lasana…lol. He wouldn’t answer me tho…haha

  63. You want Sheldon to lose his job Sav! Lol

  64. Sheldon, what’s your whole take on the above convo?

  65. This league never starts on time, we played last night, the league actually starting in 2 weeks time because of CONCACAF club championship

  66. And even if the police fruad squad was investigating any thing with respect to the corrupted sports minister and his advisor eh, nothing was coming out of it anyway it was just going to be swept under the carpet the same many other cases involving the government ministers steeuupps instead I was told that the corrupted sports minister received $5 million for his short term service. Them really good yes

  67. Well I guess alyuh understand why I always calling the professional league “Bootleg” Them really yes

  68. So how are things supposed to improve if there’s no set pattern/consistency etc? And they wonder why there is no public support…

  69. For the record, the police did not interview Sport Ministry officials about fraud. Not based on what I have been told by sources at the Ministry.
    In fact, it was not the Fraud Squad at all that was asking questions.

  70. No Savitri Maharaj. The start of the league has always been up in the air. Ironically, this is the first time that the league started when it said it would.
    Although I think the league should start earlier in the year.

    • Scotty Ranking

      I agree, Lasana. Note the European leagues are in full swing and the USA’s MLS is in mid-season. Yet our league has not started but the CONCACAF Champions League (in which two of our teams are participating, some would say badly) is midway through the first round of fixtures. This puts our local teams at a competitive disadvantage in that they are asked to prepare for a top-tier tournament in what is the off-season (and not even pre-season) for only this local league.

  71. No Savitri. Nothing like that. Just wake up, get a sponsor and form a club. You playing you don’t know…

  72. Lol! So there’s no consistency? Like the EPL?

  73. The competitive season starts on September 15 and they could have received a bye for the first round and played a week later. The Pro League clubs could have postponed the start of the league too if they wanted. They just chose not to.

  74. They discussing whether to allow a team into the league the day before the season starts? LOL. When do they do the fixtures for the season?