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Despite assurances from Minister of Sport Darryl Smith that there will be no cuts in the subventions given to teams in the TT Pro League, funds have been slashed by $33, 000.

Yesterday Keith Jeffreys, technical director at pro league outfit San Juan Jabloteh said Minister Smith has cut the funding by $33, 000, which means that teams will now be given $50, 000. He said this will take effect from the end of this month. 

Teams previously received a monthly grant of $83, 000 from the Sport Company of T&T (SPoRTT) to help off-set  cost of salaries. Funds were withheld for September, October and November last year due to the absence of a new board at the sport company.

To date subventions for January have not been paid. Jeffreys said yesterday he sees this move as total disrespect for the football, which has been the only sport that allows people of all races,  creed and class to embrace each other. 

He described the cut as too big, saying teams have to cope with contracts for players, expenses for youth teams and other costs such as travelling and monies to help young players. “Why did he have to cut the funding by so much? Why didn’t government cut the subventions by seven percent, since that is the amount that sports’ total budget was slashed by?,” Jeffreys asked. 

According to the Jabloteh boss, the cuts will mean that teams will either have to go back to the drawing board and find ways and means of coming up with additional money to pay expenses, or drop out of the league.  “I think we may well have to go back to being a semi professional league or even a Super  League, as we may not be able to function as a professional unit,” Jeffreys said.  

Attempts to contact pro league chief executive officer Dexter Skeene proved futile as calls to his phone went unanswered.

Word of the cut comes on the heels of the team’s desire to recruit ex Central FC midfielder Marvin Oliver. The transfer window opened on January 29 and will close on February 26. Jeffreys said Oliver will have until that time to sort out his business with Central FC if he is to be a Jabloteh player for the rest of the season. 

The rasta hair-style midfielder claimed he was sacked by the Central club for no reason, but the club’s managing director Brent Sancho said Oliver is still part of his team but he has been in breach of his contract as he has not been attending training session or matches and has not contacted them to say anything. 

Oliver has publicly said he will be taking legal actions against the club for monies owed to him as his contract ends on May 31.