PRESIDENT OF the TT Super League, Keith Look Loy, has rubbished claims made in a recent newspaper column that the League had to take the blame for the failure of the T&T Under-20 team to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
The Russell Latapy-coached T&T team ended their Group A phase yesterday with a 3-0 win over the United States Virgin Islands.
The T&T team defeated St Vincent/Grenadines 3-2 on November 1 and Puerto Rico 5-1 two days later. However, the team suffered a pair of defeats – 6-1 to the hosts US on Monday and 2-0 to Suriname on Wednesday.
Look Loy, in a recent interview, stressed, “That (rationale) is absolute rubbish. My natural inclination would be to avoid any response to this but a lot of people, inside and outside of the Super League have called me to express their absolute disgust with this article.”
According to Look Loy, “To allocate blame to the Super League for the Under-20 team not playing in the Super League is absolute rubbish.”
He continued, “We made a place for them, I have an e-mail to that effect from the general secretary (of the TT Football Association Justin Latapy-George), saying that they could not pay the ($45,000 registration) fee and therefore we had to go ahead without them.”
Look Loy, who is also the owner of top Super League club FC Santa Rosa, said, “Secondly, if the (writer) is saying we could have gone ahead with this team, a team that wasn’t training for months, could you imagine the disruption to our League that would have caused? This was a concern of ours that I expressed to them before we approved a place for them, and they said ‘no it would be fine’.
“We didn’t stop the team from being active, it was the TTFA’s failure to pay staff. If they didn’t play in the League, it was for those two reasons. For months, there was no national Under-20 team.”
The outspoken Look Loy stressed, “It is absolute folly and disingenuous for (the writer) to suggest that the team (could) not qualify for the Under-20 World Cup because we didn’t allow them to play. It totally ignores the problems that I just described – a team with no funding, no planning, no reliable staff, a team without a vision of where it was going (and) was abandoned for months by the TTFA.
“Further evidence is that the team got monies on Monday because days before the team left is when the budget was submitted to the Ministry of Sport,” he added, with reference to the $452,855 cheque received by the TTFA for the Under-20 team’s campaign.