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We are not dead yet! Skeene says Pro League will survive rough road to self-sufficiency

“Given our individual and collective commitment to the League and an understanding of the broader economic challenges and difficulties, we realise that the tests facing the League are no different to those facing the business community.
“[…] I believe we will rise to overcome this temporary situation and we will emerge from these tremendously trying circumstances to become a vibrant, successful football league that is not dependent on the government for its finances and revenue.”

The following statement on the TT Pro League’s ability to survive its current financial woes was submitted by Pro League CEO and ex-Strike Squad player Dexter Skeene:

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)

Football is the number one participation sport that touches all classes, creeds, races, communities and villages.

This current period is as rough and tough as they come from an economic perspective. It is a test of the League’s resilience, commitment and dedication to its vision and mission of becoming a sustainable and viable football industry, one that provides legitimate careers for young persons with football talent.

The League is focused on developing the model based on strategic positioning of the games within the communities occupied and identified by the teams. Having a greater community focus is a critical success factor and ultimately a key performance indicator to the success of the teams building their respective fan bases and revenue streams from gate receipts, sponsorship, naming rights, merchandising and broadcast rights.

Given our individual and collective commitment to the League and an understanding of the broader economic challenges and difficulties, we realise that the tests facing the League are no different to those facing the business community.

Photo: North East Stars forward Rundell Winchester (right) challenges Police FC midfielder Todd Ryan during Pro League action at the Arima Velodrome on 28 July 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

This is a time for the League to stay focused and positive and continue to work together.

I believe we will rise to overcome this temporary situation and we will emerge from these tremendously trying circumstances to become a vibrant, successful football league that is not dependent on the government for its finances and revenue.

The TT Pro League will overcome. We will prevail.  Without a vision, the people perish.

Predictions and rumours of the demise of the TT Pro league are indeed premature. The League is having ongoing discussions with proposed sponsors, the Sport Company and the Ministry of Sport and is assured of the support of the Minister and the Chairman and Board of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Defence Force players and staff celebrate with Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene (centre) after beating Ma Pau Stars to the First Citizens Bank Cup title at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 December 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

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77 comments

  1. hmm surprising to hear a super league coach who claims that it’s his only source of income bashing the bashing the talent pool available to him and saying out right that his players are inferior… wonder what the club management would think if they saw their coach’s comment? Them really good yes

    • To be fair to Travis, the context of what he said didn’t sound to me like he was bashing players, neighther is saying that the Super Leagues talent pool is inferior to that of the Pro League, that is an established fact anywhere in the world that a country’s top tier has a superior talent pool.

    • I must agree Devon you are taking Travis’s comments out of context

    • Devon London I am a real man and say it as it is . The super league are made up of players past their sell by date, who are no longer motivated to play at the highest level, ex school stars, ex pro league stars etc etc. So if you have a problem with me talking the truth than report me to the 500 Spartans executive and the super league executive. And don’t worry where my finances coming from. If I was depending on football alone I woulda be taking shit from Sancho and dem in the pro league

  2. the WICB and the players kiss and make up

  3. What I don’t understand is why not seek outside assistance? Why repeat the same strategies over and over expecting a different result? Honestly, have noticed larger crowds at Super League games over last few years and they also aren’t financially viable. Promotion and relegation helps. Better product and product marketing helps. It’s a whole slew of issues that have to be addressed but not seeing or hearing of a plan to address them.

  4. well at the end of the day its all entertainment..the pro league pitch can’t be “come out and support if you’re a true patriot”
    I mean I cud sit in my home…in my draws and watch Barcelona or I could get dressed, drive down the road and watch central FC…and hopefully not get robbed or carjacked along the way. What drives one to choose the latter over the former is the question the people marketing the pro league must answer

    • Well yes having worked with W Connection – marketing is a big issue with PL

      Even the pro league media guy used to complain about it

      However the valid counter argument I’ve heard made is even if the TTPL had a fantastic marketing campaign, fans won’t come out because it’s not the national team playing or majority would prefer to watch European football than come out

    • well.. if its not good enough it will fold..like everything else..unless continued life support by government

    • We Trinis FULL of crap. Every other Caribbean island I’ve played or coached in the stadium is loaded with people from Haiti to Cayman Is . You think they don’t get la liga, prem, bundesliga or serie a? You think they don’t have that choice too? But they come out and support because they are patriots . There are very few patriots in this country

    • At the end of the day, we will continue to produce talent but without the proper infrastructure the talent will perish. As the great Jean Lily-white said Trinidad is a footballer’s graveyard.

    • Yeah Travis but banking on Patriotism alone can never be a viable marketing strategy and that is part of the problem…look at the MLS for instance, how did they turn empty stands, in a laughable league, in a non footballing country into a strong product that now attracts top players and is commercially booming? I can tell you what it wasn’t…

    • I can tell if you don’t know that Americans are driven by patriotism lived there for a bit. Have you ever noticed how when it rubs off onus Trinis how we “suddenly” appreciate our CULTURE? Btw I stand with my statement that we Trinis full of it. We just have a stinking, nasty, disrespectful mentality and it’s not just towards sports . But when it comes to sport in particular football we demand the highest of standards, while teachers not teaching, doctors killing people in the hospital, police not solving crimes , politicians not doing anything, businessmen not providing value for money and i can go on and on. Concerning the MLS bro the people running the MLS have a strategic vision, for example every year the top teams in the world travel to the US and their football fraternity are exposed to the best talent, their ALL STAR team played Madrid this year , El Classico all be it a friendly was played there. And this the America that isn’t leaps and bounds ahead of us we can still beat them if the players really focus on living a football life. I am in the war so I can say. Now I ask when last have you went out to see a pro league match Mr James Saunders?

    • I watch matches almost every week bro

    • Those and many other island have very little alternative forms of entertainment. We at 1.3 million have at 7 sporting events to chose from in certain periods and several other non sporting activities to partake in.

  5. Feel sorry for the pro league sometimes- not sure if I’ve ever heard a idea out there that can help the league main two problems of being financially sustainable & getting the public to come out to matches

  6. If we want to see it survive you all can play a vital role come out an support fill the venues croud support is a major help rather than just criticize come out in full numbers .

    • Imploring people to come out is not a viable strategy. Put a good product on the field and you wont have to tell them to come. And a good product includes a proper admin structure and capabilities. People have lost faith in the powers that be and they not seeing quality. So why should they come out. People criticize because they care – when they stop talking its dead

  7. and the last T 20 versus India we had essentially our strongest possible squad apart from Dwayne Bravo

  8. The only problem Shaun Lynch is that the world champion team and the WI team are very different and most of the current WI players are only playing for WI. They cant get a foreign contract

  9. well the WI are the world champions in the most popular form of cricket eh…and well our players play in the vest league in the world…so poor comparison to TT pro league REALLY

  10. Outside of the players staff and family members who knows about the games

  11. One of the MAJOR problems in the TTPro league is the lack of proper advertising of games …. I officiated in the Pro league for over 3 yrs and 9 out of 10 yrs is only when the refs got our appointments I would know the schedule

  12. Lasana Liburd with the thousands football fans in TT I am appall/surprise that this discussion is so lame with just the 2 of you…from my observance TT citizens are to passive in supporting their athlete may be track/football etc. WHAT CAUSE THAT????

  13. Travis Mulraine you self you know cricket is run by corporate Trinadad they will never have the Financial problem like the TPL. They don’t need the government they are the government

  14. So let me understand, their only hope is to only engage the state right now as he say he is trying to be self sustaining? Why can’t he thoroughly develop a proper marketing plan, starting with the community with raising funds then the private sector? No! You know why he wouldn’t? Because he does not know how and is incapable of thinking for himself. All that years he is president, he can’t figure out a system of marketing? Totally ridiculous! This is evidence too of him and many others on the board, blocking the young people from coming in to join the organisation to bring new ideas in to how to market and generate its own revenue. Only want to hog positions to block people just to have status and feel important.

  15. Travis Mulraine did say longer format of the game…hhmm

  16. Pro league needs to be scrapped and reimagined with a structure closer to the MLS. Also needs a new head because clearly Skeene either needs help or isn’t the right man to make the league self sustaining

    • The Pro League is already fashioned after the MLS. Too much in my opinion. I think there should be relegation and promotion for instance.
      What is it exactly you think the pro league needs?

    • I agree with relegation and promotion as well. The league should be capped at 10 teams. But the teams must all have a home ground or be on its way to owning one. Nothing too crazy, maybe a 2000-5000 capacity venue; and strong ties to those communities. They also need to show that they have sufficient resources to sustain themselves throughout the season. As for marketing and promotions, we need to get out the stone age. The full season should be properly planned out and game dates and venues released ahead of time in the media, on the website and on the app.

    • They are actually trying hard on home grounds but it isn’t easy. Most of the teams we watch on tv had state help for their grounds or still getting State help even today.
      The marketing definitely has to improve.

    • I get that and I know it won’t be easy. It took the MLS 10 years to turn a profit so I’m aware it’s an uphill battle but they at least started with a proper forward thinking plan.

    • The Pro League generally has well intentioned football people who lack the business acumen or experience necessary. So it has been tough road.
      I don’t know if they can pull it off. I don’t envy them in having to find close to TT$120,000 a month to run your club in this economy.
      I hope they make it. But I’m not sure that they can.

    • I hope so too. Unfortunately good intentions don’t pay the bills, which is why they might need to consider semi-pro status till they can figure it out.

    • And staying alive is one thing. Making a plan to flourish is something else. They might be better at the first one than the second. Who knows.

    • Ian how they planning dates or schedule when the jokey national team have shit friendlies

    • That has nothing to do with the league Dion Sosa. Which league you know does plan its schedule around the national team schedule. Especially when our national team don’t even have a schedule themselves

    • Lasana Liburd It is not a part of this culture to aim for self sufficiency like so many they have historically only expected the taxpayers to support them.

    • That’s my point Ian that’s was their response when I suggested to them to do that

    • Dion Sosa should these people keep their jobs???

    • John, amazingly the Pro League didn’t get a Govt subvention from the start.
      But once they got it, they might have grown so dependent on it that it won’t survive otherwise.
      You make a good point.
      I do think they should have some help. How much and under what conditions is the question.

  17. ^^^the WI??..lol..like you eh qatch the last few games?

  18. Of course the haters would love to see the league crash and the $400,000 go to other sources. But nobody criticizing the poor record by the WI cricketers in the longer format of the game. If they playing in the morning the oval full . Trinidadians yes . Smh

  19. I feel like this temporary situation has been decades long.
    This league is like the US embargo on Cuba. Driven by pride even though the results are far removed from what is desired.
    (P.s. Is connection getting anything out of that Joevin trade to Germany?)

  20. I for one would love to see the Pro League become a sustainable and viable professional league, but for right now until I see real progress, Skeene’s words ring hollow to me. It’s been in existence for almost 20 years now and they still can’t get people in the seats, can’t have a reliable schedule, only now trying to get back to the communities etc. I’m glad that it’s still surviving, but it’s analogous to living paycheck to paycheck.

  21. Yea but we on life support ,it’s just a matter of time before it’s time for candles .

    • You don’t think the league will make it?

    • Nope, I heard the government going to stop the subvention. I foresee an amalgamation with the top superleague teams. And a return of football dominance to the service teams that can provide job security.

    • That is the logical thing. But sad. Trinidad and Tobago is better by having full-time players. So I hope they find a way.

    • In the days before the pro league we had a better standard of play, more crowds , the army and police, Petroleum were de facto pro teams. Of course full time football is ideal but not having it wouldn’t be fatal

    • As long as the main source of revenue is coming from the govt – and I don’t know if it is – then I’m hesitant to call this a full-blown professional football league. Do either of you know if the Pro League only looks at the TT corporate community for sponsorship? Wondering if this is something FIFA could assist with, ie leveraging their relationship with some of the game’s sponsors.

    • Of course FIFA can help , Jack Warner could have done wonders for football at all levels in Trinidad and Tobago. I am sorry to say it but corporate Trinidad and Tobago and the Government are not interested in helping the process they want the product to be good to jump on the bandwagon

  22. Well we are on the outside looking in an waiting to see it happen