The extent of the problems that currently exist in local football may well have been the reason why the thought of one Pro league Club owners had to openly reject the idea of returning to Amateur status even before it was suggested by anyone else.
It is probably the appropriate time that the clubs can open their eyes, recognise the numerous problems, financially, administratively, and leagues disorder right across the board.
There are many persons in life whose effort to engage in the business of change for the better is often aborted in fear that the future may be worse.
In the case of football, this is not the case. The country has sufficient evidence that change is inevitable simply because all of the EFA, the newly reconstructed (Super league), The Pro League, are all amidst some form of confusion.
The evidence of the Pro League’s problems have been clearly proven judging from the comments made by the Central FC owner, Brent Sancho, whose forceful demand for funding for all the “Professional” Clubs from the Ministry of Sport and the SporTT Company.
It is my belief that this issue may be viewed realistically before any action with regard to making any adjustment or complete change in structure should be attempted.
The first question is: why has the league not been able to bring out the fans to support matches played in that league? The answer lies in the mediocrity of the performances by the teams.
The game of football is the commodity which should be the main target for correction and unfortunately, there is an absence of football education on the benches of the clubs in the country.
For some unknown reason, this country has never placed great emphasis in the training our coaches need when they are working at the highest Club level of the game.
This education is not only about the game on the field, but specifically to define to the players themselves of the manner in which a professional approach is based upon the processes of commitment, intensity of training methods which include understanding the tactical ingredients, the use of clever understanding among the players in a team, and most of all, the portions of communication which must be practiced in order to produce quality of football that will satisfy the fans.
Sancho said that we must not return to Amateur status, but at this stage, we are currently operating in that category. The difference is that these players are demanding payment for their efforts, quite naturally because they are contracted to do same.
Not for the very first time did we hear of the need for government to finance the TTFA Pro league, and my reaction comes from the principle that the Club owners who have chosen to invest their money in a Pro League franchise must have catered for all the preliminary financial commitments from Club registration, to players’ and coaches’ salaries, to supply all the regular areas of financial coverage such as balls, uniforms, medicine kits, Team internal travel and even external when the CONCACAF Club Championship requires travel and hotel abroad.
The Franchise owner’s financial return comes from gate receipts, prize monies and investors from the business sector who may wish to support the club as shareholders.
These requirements appear to have failed and the team performances have not reached the level which fans will respond by attending matches.
I have seen a formula which the East Germans have used when they were separated from the West Germans. These clubs all got support from the business sector by employing the majority of players in their company’s pay package where team representation is primary in their terms of employment.
They employ excellently trained coaches and demanded maximum efforts from the chosen players.
This project worked so well, that in the year 1976, the East Germany won the gold medal in Soccer in the Montreal Olympics and also defeated West Germany in a world cup fixture.
That is the way forward, especially as our Government had already committed to allowing tax breaks for members of the business sector which are approached by clubs to be shareholders.
However, clubs must be trained to handle their administrative efforts from all angles. If the processes professionalism or Amateurism are not dealt with, then nothing will work