Did you pay your players? SporTT awaits payroll info before fresh pay out to Pro League clubs

Can you provide payroll information, salary slips and/or NIS information for your players for the 2018 TT Pro League season?

The TT Pro League’s eight clubs which receive government subventions, according to a source at the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT), have been asked to prove they paid their players last season if they are to receive any money this year.

Photo: San Juan Jabloteh attacker Shaquille John (left) tries to evade a Club Sando opponent during Ascension Invitational action at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium Training Field on 25 August 2019.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

The payroll information is believed to be the final hurdle for the TTPL, which already furnished SporTT with fixtures for its 2019/20 season that is due to kick off on 4 October.

The Pro League is in the second year of a three year deal with the government, which entitles clubs to a combined TT$4.8 million in 2018, TT$3.6 million in 2019 and TT$2.6 million in 2020.

Last season, Central FC, Club Sando, Morvant Caledonia AIA, North East Stars, Point Fortin Civic, San Juan Jabloteh, Terminix St Ann’s Rangers and W Connection collected TT$600,000 each from taxpayers.

For the 2018/19 season, the eight aforementioned clubs—although Rangers are now called Terminix La Horquetta Rangers—are due TT$450,000 each.

However, before they get a second payment, the Pro League clubs must account for how they used their first subvention. The request for transparency was said to be a stipulation made by deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Farook Hosein.

“The money came to the Ministry of Sport and then to the Sports Company to pay the clubs, as directed by Cabinet,” said the government official. “But while getting the money from the Ministry of Finance, the [deputy] Permanent Secretary would have asked for information on different issues related to the finance.

Photo: TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (left) presents the winning cheque to his daughter and Connection director Renee John-Williams after their FA Trophy final win over Police FC at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 8 December 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“We already went through the audited financials to see how they accounted for the money that was spent; but now the clubs have been asked to supply the payroll, salary slips and other relevant information to see if they match what they sent us.”

So far, four clubs have already submitted financial information with the others expected to follow suit before the end of the week.

Wired868 understands that Rangers, Jabloteh, W Connection and Club Sando are the teams who have already complied with the request. Among the clubs still due to submit financial data are Central FC, which is headed by former Minister of Sport and T-League Commission member Brent Sancho, and Morvant Caledonia AIA, whose technical director Jamaal Shabazz also represented the TTPL on the T-League Commission.

At present, Club Sando, Morvant Caledonia AIA, San Juan Jabloteh and La Horquetta Rangers are active in the ongoing Ascension Invitational Tournament, which is due to end on 21 September.

The Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) accounts for 18 of the 24 participants in the invitational competition and have formally requested a second round of the competition—a request that was forwarded to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), who must sanction any such extension.

However, the Pro League clubs want to go their own way from 4 October.

Photo: Defence Force playmaker Hashim Arcia (right) keeps the ball away from Terminix La Horquetta Rangers forward Tyrone Charles during Ascension Invitational action at Phase 2 La Horquetta on 17 August 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Central FC, North East Stars, Point Fortin Civic and W Connection are not involved in the Ascension tournament. The first three clubs missed the registration deadline—although entrance into the competition is free—while Connection declined the invitation.

At present, the 2019/20 Pro League season appears to hinge on member clubs making a proper account for their use of taxpayers’ money in 2018.

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