It’s about survival in T&T current economic climate

Richard Fakoory, the St Ann’s Rangers owner and founder is advising players in the T&T Pro League to seek employment alongside their footballing careers.

His call comes in the wake of Guardian Media Sports’ story in yesterday’s publication in which it was reported a decision by pro league champion team — North East Stars to implement a basic monthly salary of $2,500 per month for each player due to the tough economic climate in the country. That decision has caused several players and technical staff members to sever ties with the club.

Yesterday, Fakoory, who has spent most of his life developing young football talent said he cannot knock the Sangre Grande-based club for its decision if it is what the Club can afford. He is strongly against any suggestions by clubs that there should be a salary cap. He said, “Realistically $2,000 to $3,000 a month cannot do anything for someone who has a family and responsibility, so once clubs can afford to pay an unlimited amount to a player, then so be it once they believe the player deserves it.”

It is not the first time the Rangers boss has made this call. In fact, he echoed similar sentiments at the League’s last Board meeting recently, and he echoes it regularly to his own players.

Fakoory believes that because of the harsh economic situation in the country players should explore the job market and work out their training schedules with their respective clubs accordingly. He said, the monies they earn at their clubs will supplement their incomes, or to be used as pocket money.

Fakoory told Guardian Media Sports that while he agrees the move will diminished the pro league brand somewhat, it has become necessary until the clubs and the league can do better. “Football is part of life, and until the League can source a sponsor etc, the players will have to do what they have to do. It is about survival at this point in time” Fakoory explained.

He said, “The North East Stars’ business model is an excellent one. It is what my club has been doing over the recent years. As much as I appreciate government assisting me in developing the young players, we have to revert to what is being done at North East Stars.”

Guardian Media Sports understand the League will go on as planned in 2018 and in spite of government’s input or not.

Eight out of the 10 pro league clubs received grants of $50,000 each from government to help cover salaries. Government also pumped additional funds into the management of the league over the years, but is like to come to an end, as government continues to struggle with revenue due to the fall in the prices of oil and gas.

Yesterday, chairman of the Board of the pro league Sam Phillip said they wrote to the Sport Company of T&T last year requesting funding, but they are still awaiting a response.

Phillip revealed that attempts are underway to meet with other corporate citizens to source a sponsor for the league.