The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), which is under the control of the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, confirmed a two year deal with unknown Miami-based sportswear company BOL today.
Both parties would hope their relationship gets off to a better start the second time around. Wired868 was told by a source, on condition of anonymity, that the Soca Warriors were handed BOL kits before their opening Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying fixture against Guyana on 25 March and refused to wear them due to concerns about the quality.
Instead, the team continued to play with Joma kit, although the TTFA’s contract with that company expired over two years ago.
Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad, who had not previously informed football stakeholders about discussions with the company, confirmed today that it is a ‘done deal’. He did not comment on the incident with the kit last month—and photographs of the new attire did appear to be of higher quality.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association believes that this new partnership with BOL Football is a great strategic alliance and opportunity,” Hadad told TTFA Media. “We look forward to working together to develop products that resonate with the hearts of the players, staff, fans and all Trinbagonians.”
The BOL website did not say how long the company has been in existence although company records show it was only incorporated in August 2020, which makes it five months younger than the normalisation committee.
It has only one other deal with a sport team. The sportswear firm agreed terms with the Montserrat Football Association on 17 March and that island’s team wore their brand for their qualifying matches in last month’s match window.
Montserrat are ranked 180 in the world by Fifa, although their form steadily improved in the past two years. Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 103rd at present.
A BOL statement, released by the TTFA, said that the company aims to link with ‘men’s, women’s, and youth teams that aren’t typically showcased on the international stage’.
It was, arguably, another sign of how low the Soca Warriors’ stock has fallen since they held a Fifa ranking of 49th in the world under coach Stephen Hart—immediately prior to the election of David John-Williams as TTFA president.
Ironically, Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago meet on either 2 or 3 July in a Concacaf Gold Cup playoff in Miami.
BOL co-founder Tiago Pinto, who described himself as a ‘former Nike executive’, said his company will ‘begin its process of creating new art-inspired kits that will be released in June to help elevate the Caribbean nation to the next level during the Qatar 2022 qualifiers’.
“We want our new kits to exude the confidence, strength and bravery of this team,” said Pinto, in a statement released by the TTFA. “We believe in celebrating the beautiful game and our hope is supporters around the world will find that same joy through our apparel designs.”
BOL, according to the statement, will ‘equally incentivise Trinidad and Tobago for the performance achievements of both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams in order to recognise TTFA’s efforts and vision for the future of all’.
No details were provided on the incentives offered to Trinidad and Tobago football. However, a report on BOL’s deal with Montserrat claimed that the company ‘pledged to gift one jersey to every inhabitant on the 4,900-person island when the underdog nation qualifies for its first World Cup’.
It is unlikely that Montserrat would trigger that performance incentive anytime soon.
Today’s release further stated that BOL will provide ‘an extensive annual product collection […] au gratis and the deal will also include a revenue sharing program for team branded products sold around the world’.
Game day, training, and goalkeeper jerseys will be available for purchase after the new jerseys are released this summer on BOL’s official site.