CENTRAL FC, the three-time champions of the Digicel Pro League, will have to wait a while longer before they get their $1 million jackpot for their successful 2016-2017 campaign.
Central FC owner Brent Sancho has been vocal in his call for the League to pay outstanding winnings to the club, who have got partial payments of their 2014-2015 million-dollar earnings but nothing for their 2015-2016 conquest.
Dexter Skeene, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the TT Pro League, said, “that is a norm within the league. For those of us who have been in the league from inception, we understand that the prize monies are paid the year after and continuing throughout because, if you understand how Government subventions (are) paid, it is not paid in the particular year.” Skeene, the former national striker, pointed out, “you get it whenever the Government has money. So the ability to pay funds should not be based on purely prize monies.
“That is something that you get accustomed to, as you go along, in the league, this year especially,” he went on to say. “I understand Central FC. They are crying out. They want to be able to have the funds because they’re involved in the CONCACAF Club Championships as well. We’re trying to make every effort to assist them.
“We hope that they go out and represent us well. They’re one of our top clubs. They’ve won it three times, congratulations to them, they’ve done remarkably well given the circumstances and we hope that they go out and represent us in the (Club Championships) and help us to reach further than they have done in the past.”
Looking back at the 2016-2017 season, which also saw Defence Force winning both the First Citizens Cup and the Digicel Pro Bowl, Skeene remarked, “if you look at the league this year as well, there was a lot of competition on the last day.
We had two teams who still could have won the tournament and you had improvements from teams like Rangers, Club Sando (and) Defence Force. So I’m pleased with the level of competition and the efforts made by the teams.
“We also want to thank the Government and the Minister (of Sport Darryl Smith) for supporting the league throughout the season. We know that we have difficult economic times in the country and football is no different. Just like every other industry, we would have to take our cuts as well. But the Ministry has been supporting the clubs with their subventions.”
On the issue of community grounds staging league games on a regular basis, Skeene said, “the Minister has given his full support to ensure that the community grounds, which is something that his high and first on my radar, in terms of ensuring that teams have an asset that they can monetise, that they can grow their fanbase.”
Concerning the 2017 season, Skeene said, “we have reverted back to the April-December season, in line with the MLS. There are always advantages and disadvantages in it because in the past, with the other season, August-May, we were able to be in competition when we were playing the Caribbean (Club Championships).
Now we’ll not be in competition when they’re playing the Caribbean (Club Championships).
“It’s a double-edged sword and that’s the disadvantage of going back. But, however, we would not be playing in the Christmas and Carnival periods. We expect to grow from strength to strength and to improve the standard of football, to improve the attendances and the main thing that we’re looking it is the grounds in the communities,” he ended.