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CFTL fails to honour TT$.5m Cup contract; Look Loy confident about 2018 TTSL prospects

Despite being the all-conquering team in the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) in 2017 when they walked away with both the League and League Cup competitions, Guaya United are still to receive their prize money.

The TTSL membership had agreed to play without monetary rewards for the 2017 League competition so the southerners haven’t got any money for their League victory. But the Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL) had committed to sponsoring the League Cup to the tune of TT$100,000 so there really is no reason why the champions should still be without their cash prize.

Photo: Guaya United forward Carlon Hughes (left) is congratulated by his teammates after completing a beaver-trick against Cunupia FC at the Guayaguayare Recreation Ground on 9 July, 2017.
Guaya won 6-2.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/CA Images/Wired868)

“No, we have not received our money [from CFTL],” TTSL president Keith Look Loy told Wired868. “They have not honoured our contract up to now and we are taking it very seriously.”

On 5 June, 2017, Look Loy—then in an interim role—signed off on an agreement with CFTL chairman Chris Anderson to the tune of TT$550,000. The sponsorship was due to cover two tournaments, with TT$200,000 going to the League Cup and a further TT$350,000 going to a “Winner takes all” Power Eight tournament, which never materialized.

In an enthralling League Cup final at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Guaya defeated Prisons FC to cop the top prize. Second-placed Prisons were supposed to pocket $50,000 while losing semi-finalists Cunupia FC and UTT were to receive $25,000 each. But CFTL are yet to hold up their end of the bargain.

“We have written to them several times and they keep saying they will pay, they will pay,” Look Loy went on. “That money should have been paid since November.”

Look Loy, who is also the founder of 2016 TTSL champions FC Santa Rosa, indicated that his club was one of eight TTSL teams which have not received their full winnings for their exploits in the 2016 TTSL season. Quite clearly distressed that the man who has so far failed to make good on his contractual commitment is a former Trinidad and Tobago international footballer, Look Loy stressed that it was part of a bigger problem of sport in the country which sees contracts not being treated with the respect they deserve.

“There is a trend in sport, where people sign contracts,” Look Loy said, “and if people feel to walk away from it, they walk away from it. In Trinidad and Tobago football, people don’t take contracts seriously.”

Like Look Loy, Guaya manager Jameson Rigues is hopeful that Anderson will keep his promise. And he implies that he expects the president to follow through and push the sponsor to make good on his promise.

“Mr [Keith] Look Loy was the direct connect to Anderson and his associates in Trinidad and Tobago,” Rigues told Wired868. “Anderson has made a commitment to pay the amount but he has not given a timeframe.”

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

Because he also sits on the TTSL Board as first vice-president, Rigues is between a rock and a hard place, feeling the heat from his own players as well.

“There is a lot of discontent where the prize money is concerned,” Rigues said. “Our plan was to reward players with those earnings.  […] All fingers are pointing to me at this point.”

Last June when they signed on the dotted line at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, all eyes were on Anderson and Look Loy. And all ears were tuned to Anderson who had some pretty fine words to share with those present.

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

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

Photo: Guaya United player Kerneal Hagley enjoys a tender moment with the 2015 CNG National Super League Knock Out trophy.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Rigues tried to see the positive side.

“All we have is his word,” he said. “And to me a man’s word is his bond.”

Less disposed to be generous or optimistic, Look Loy assured Wired868 that the TTSL will no longer be dealing with CFTL.

“No, we will not be working with them [going forward],” the TTSL president said, suggesting that CFTL have their work cut out for them to get back in his good books. “They have not proven to be trustworthy at all. […] They started making excuses when it was time to pay.”

Look Loy was happy to note that Guaya, Prisons, Cunupia and UTT have all declared their intention to participate in the 2018 TTSL season which is currently carded to start on 10 June.

Rigues simply cannot envisage a TTSL without Guaya United, otherwise known as the “Green Army,” and gave the assurance that, even if the CFTL does not meet its contractual obligation, the club and the community will do all in their power to ensure that the players are well looked after financially.

“We are a community team so we always try to get people in and around the Mayaro area to come on board,” Rigues said. “It would be difficult not to get the prize money but it would be hard to see a TTSL without Guaya United.”

According to Rigues, the TTSL Board does not at the moment have any plans to take legal action to force CFTL’s hand. Look Loy, however, pointed out that, should CFTL attempt to venture into any similar sponsorship deals in the coming months without first honouring its contract with the local league, the TTSL would be forced to act.

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

Defence Force football team manager Ryan Ottley, who held the position of interim vice-president when the CFTL deal was struck, believes the current situation could have been avoided. He said he raised an alarm shortly after the June 2017 signing.

“We can’t take this contract to task now,” said Ottley, who last August lost out to Look Loy in the race to become TTSL president. “As vice-president at the time, I warned [Look Loy] about the contract. Due diligence was not followed. […] When I saw that contract, I knew it was problems.”

Ottley suggested that Look Loy’s handling if the CFTL matter is flawed as indeed is his handling of sponsorship matters in general.

“Writing the man is good, but when it was time to bring the sponsor on, you travelled to the States and sat and talked with the guy,” said Ottley. “If somebody owes me money, I’m making sure and get that money. We had a contract and I held up my end of the bargain. […] That could never be business.

“Every contract Mr Look Loy has brought to the TTSL has been an emergency contract. It had to be signed today for today because sponsors weren’t waiting. And every one failed.”

Photo: Former Barcelona and Brazil star Ronaldinho (centre) in action against Manchester United in a Legends exhibition contest in June 2017.
Ronaldinho was scheduled to come to Trinidad last year as part of a CFTL “All-Star” game.
(Copyright Sun.co.uk)

Look Loy conceded that the season had not gone entirely swimmingly, the Power Eight competition not coming off and the much ballyhooed TTSL / CFTL “All-Star” game not going ahead as planned. However, he explained, neither he nor anyone within the TTSL could reasonably be blamed for CFTL’s slowness in meeting its obligations. And it was the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) which was at fault for the cancellation of the “All Star” event because it had simply never given the green light for it to be staged.

All of that, Look Loy assures, is now history; there are brighter days on the horizon and, come what may, there will be monetary incentives for teams in the upcoming League campaign.

“We are not lamenting on what happened last season. We are not going to let that sour the football,” he declared. “Whether we have external sponsorship or not, we will have prize money for the different competitions this season.”

Look Loy indicated, that on 3 March, the membership agreed that part of the money clubs pay for registration will be going towards the payment of prizes come the end of the season. The TTSL president said that the League is still in talks with sponsors and a prize structure will be made public when the season gets under way in June.

Photo: Bethel United defender Makan Hislop (left) shrugs off a challenge from FC Santa Rosa attacker Rashad Griffith during TTSL One action at the Arima Velodrome on 18 June, 2017.
Santa Rosa won 2-0.
(Courtesy Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

The registration fee for clubs in TTSL League One is TT$45,000 while the League Two fee is TT$35,000. The deadline for payment of these fees is 30 April and clubs failing to meet the deadline run the risk of being kicked out of the League.

Even before the 30 April deadline, there is a 31 March date by which clubs must prove to the League that they are functional by producing financial audited statements, minutes of their last AGM and other pertinent documents.

According to Look Loy, Club Sando, Moruga, Marabella Family Crisis Centre and FC Santa Rosa have already met the functional club requirement and he is confident that other clubs will soon follow suit.

Ottley is of the view that the League should not be too quick to sideline its member clubs.  And he reckons that no final decision on prize monies should be made before the membership is in possession of official information on the League’s operational costs.

“We are trying to develop clubs which can be a monarch in society,” he reasoned. “The clubs make up the League; if you have no clubs, then you have no League. When we lose one club, we lose a community. And clubs are being told if you can’t pay, you don’t play?”

Look Loy, however, argued in favour of a tough stance.

Photo: QPCC winger Jason Devenish (left) tackles UTT midfielder Stefon Pierre during 2015 CNG NSL Championship Division action at UTT Grounds, Arima.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“Everybody has to run the last mile for themselves and you have to show that you want to pay,” the TTSL president told Wired868. “The clubs who are prepared to do that will get stronger. […] We have to lend a helping hand but clubs who don’t want to help themselves will fall by the wayside.”

About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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27 comments

  1. And sometime ago right here on wired volley I said that if it was the Cyrians, the Indians,and the white Trini people that was in charge of running the football in our sweet country from a very long time ago our football would have been on a real professional level in these times and on the same level with the cricket CPL and I must say sorry eh Mr Arthur Suite Them really good yes

  2. Why he don’t cuss them????

  3. I got up here this morning and came to the conclusion that Keith Look Loy isn’t right with respect to his mental capacities , how can he be really upset with the con man Chris Anderson eh because he hasn’t kept to his promises with respect to the offering of the sponsorship monies for the winning team of the league Guy a United and he himself isn’t offering any winning prizes to the team after collecting over $ 450,000 monies after each of the 10 teams paid $ 45,000 monies each to join his league eh and the managers who always have to spend plenty monies for this and that and also pay their players and even the players just taking that just so just so eh but again as I have always known our players just want to play the beautiful game even just for a box of chicken and chips and a red solo and for free and even the amount of monies that they want to offer the players in the bootleg professional league eh $3000 monies a month eh that is the cost of a football boots eh so maybe the only best thing for the Players to do is to play the minor league football yes These set a mad people that is running the football in our sweet country really needs to stop their madness eh so my writer Stephon Nicholas when I return to our sweet country I will be paying you a visit so that we can publish a story in the newspapers about this present madness with our football and how they want to continue exploiting our players eh Them really good yes

  4. ..The clubs are not the only victim here. So too is TTSL. Guaya representatives – the Brothers Hagley – have sat in our meetings and helped the league to make decisions for 2018. Running football in TT is not as easy as some think. Faced with CFTL’s failure to honour its commitment we could moan and fold up or we could press on building on the good foundation we laid in 2017. Football continues as it must..

  5. This situation is rather unfortunate to say the least. The failed contractual arrangement is not the responsibility of the clubs but the responsibility of the League. Arrangements should be made by the League to honor its promised prizes to the winning respective teams. How do we expect growth and development in the League when the very thing that motivates the players and clubs to participate is not honored. Further to that, preparations are being made for the 2018 season without settling outstanding commitment from last season and the teams that do not pay the registration and submit there documents will have to sit out….really? The TTSL has something in its short existence that the PRO league doesn’t, which is support for the participating teams from there respective communities. I really hope that these ills can be rectified at the soonest as my Community loves our team and want to see the League grow to a level that the Pro League never achieved. Disappointed Guaya United Football Club / d GREEN ARMY Fan.

  6. But I warned alyuh about this other con artist that had to exile himself from our sweet country many moons ago eh but nobody listened to me and he also like playing a police officer to eh . The man was on Steve David show the Field of dreams eh talking and promising this and that and also mentioned how many organizations that he is part of eh and that he even played in the NASL when the same Steve David represented and Steve never even asked him certain questions about his involvement and about why he had to exile himself from our sweet country ent George Scoreboard Mathison and the same Keith Look Loy should have known that this con artist Chris Anderson should have never been trusted Them really good yes steeuuppsss

  7. ..TT Sport is in difficult times but football goes on. For the record, the membership were invited to meet with Anderson to discuss the CFTL sponsorship. The meeting took place at Police Mess Hall on Long Circular Road. At the end all in attendance signed off on the agreement. Ottley himself left after a smiling handshake with Anderson. Now he has issues. So be it. I understand football politics. The League is is being given the short end of the stick but football goes on. The new season is coming and the serious clubs will play it..

    Regarding TTFA requirements, the League has consistently demanded clubs do the needful and has made accounting services available to members. But they need to walk the last mile for themselves. I make no apologies for adopting that stance. Serious times demand serious people..

    • It is unfortunate that Mr. Look Loy will take a handshake and a smile to mean satisfaction, throughout the entire meeting, I was the only person drilling Mr. Anderson on the content of the contract. I informed the membership that the contract is vague and the potential risk that was before us. I agree with Jason Lexo Alexis that the responsibility of contractual obligations and the proper execution is the responsibility of the League, it was evident in meetings prior that Mr. Look Loy was not informed of the contents of the contract and could not offer the membership any explanations. It was also evident that Mr. Look Loy did not want the members of the Interim Board to review the contents of the contract as it was with held from us and presented to the membership as a document that the Board recommended.

      Further, sports in Trinidad and Tobago more so football will continue to fail due to lack of proper administration and oversight. Once Presidents and Board Members that have their personal objectives to accomplish are at the helm of organisations, the members will continue to be the victim. After three (3) failed contracts. failed sponsorship, we look forward to a 2018 season in which we are told there will be prize money from our registration fees, but the President can not present to the membership what was the operating cost for the 2017 season, indication that we still have outstanding commitments to pay and we got a $25,000.00 US injection from TTFA. One is to wonder if that is even possible but again we wait to see ……

  8. ..I should add that the semi-finals and final of the CFTL League Cup were staged by TTSL. We mad a profit of almost TTD 4OK. Members have already agreed that the League will again host these matches and either 1) pay the participating teams an appearance fee or 2) pay prize monies from the profit.

    We are not lamenting the 2017 issue. We moving on in the most self-reliant manner possible..

  9. ..Other than SSFL (because of Sportsmax), no football league in TT has meaningful sponsorship. None. League survive by their own means. In 2017 TTSL clubs bit the bullet and agreed to play the league competition without prize money – this in order to establish our own league. The clubs have agreed to apportion a percentage of registration fees towards 2018 prize money – in the absence of external sponsorship. THIS is why I have maintained as TTSL president that we must operate within our financial means and this worked very well in 2017. With that base we are now exploring how we could not just mark time but GROW..

  10. Unfortunately Keith is right, look at the poor Pro League players , Central FC has not been paid their prize money for two years of them winning the league

  11. ..No sponsor pays up in advance. None. TTSL had a small sponsorship agreement with TSTT last season and we got the cheque last week. Remember, TT is a buyers’ market..

  12. The football clubs should require that the league bank, in escrow, the promised funds. No club should agree to participate without such proof. The distribution of funds should be the responsibility of a third party! This approach, I believe, would assure prompt distribution of funds according to outcome of the tournament.

    • This suggests that the League itself is untrustworthy, which on its face is lacking in basis. Second, how could the clubs even make such a demand of themselves, seeing the close nexus of club and League leadership?

    • Nigel S. Scott No… it suggests the league needs to be financially savvy and to be better negotiators with their sponsors. Currently, they have a lose-win relationship with their sponsors whereby the league is the loser. It’s time the league steps out of the dark ages.

    • Kenneth, see what Keith said about sport sponsorship in TnT, it is a buyer’s market. What you say makes all the sense in the world… in theory, but not all parties to a contract come to the table on even footing. Suggesting escrow means that the fault lies with the League, that they have the money and won’t pay out. The real issue is lack of funding. An escrow requirement is meaningless without actual funds to hold in escrow.

    • Nigel S. Scott Honestly, I respect him but I disagree with his position/stance on the subject. This problem is not new! The leagues have been at a disadvantage for decades. We can’t love football that much to continue leaving the negotiation table at a disadvantage whereby every season we gave to beg for prize moneys after the league and its clubs had enthusiasticly promoted the sponsors every game whole season… Nah man. Time for the BS to stop.

    • Kenneth in a situation where sponsors are hard to come by, the ones that do are negotiating from a position of strength. Not sure how mere words or change in mindset is going to change that.

    • Nigel S. Scott Negotiation is an art, a skill. The sponsors need the exposure as much as the league needs the money. The league needs to expand their search for sponsors.

    • To many smart men and con artist is involved in the beautiful game in our sweet country and continues to be only interested in the monies rather than our players ,our sweet country and the beautiful game Them really good yes steeuuppsss

    • Earl Mango Pierre Agreed, Mango! I was trying to be as diplomatic as possible. So I had to use a bunch of sentences instead the word… corruption and the phrase… gross self-enrichment!

    • And as I have said some time ago that if it was the Cyrians, Indians, white / Trini white people was running our football/ sports many moons ago our football would have been on the same level with the cricket CPL although they themselves does end up facing the courts and then plenty jail time for the same fraud or money laundering the same like the fella who is responsible for starting the CPL cricket but now is serving time in jail for thieving people monies in order to do so eh Them really good yes

  13. ..No mess. TT Sport is in difficult times but football goes on. For the record, the membership were invited to meet with Anderson to discuss the CFTL sponsorship. The meeting took place at Police Mess Hall on Long Circular Road. At the end all in attendance signed off on the agreement. Ottley himself left after a smiling handshake with Anderson. Now he has issues. So be it. I understand football politics. The League is is being given the short end of the stick but football goes on. The new season is coming and the serious clubs will play it..

    Regarding TTFA requirements, the League has consistently demanded clubs do the needful and has made accounting services available to members. But they need to walk the last mile for themselves. I make no apologies for adopting that stance. Serious times demand serious people..

  14. ..For the record, the membership were invited to meet with Anderson to discuss the CFTL sponsorship. The meeting took place at Police Mess Hall on Long Circular Road. At the end all in attendance signed off on the agreement. Ottley himself left after a smiling handshake with Anderson. Now he has issues. So be it. I understand football politics. The League is is being given the short end of the stick but football goes on.

    Regarding TTFA requirements, the League has consistently demanded clubs do the needful and has made accounting services available to members. But they need to walk the last mile for themselves. I make no apologies for adopting that stance. Serious times demand serious people..