THE PRO League will not be affected by any potential fall-out, over the status of defending champion team North East Stars, who are yet to pay a cent, from their expected sum of $130,000 for the 2018 season.
That sum will assist with the running of the League, particularly costs of referees, match commissioners and the administrative arm.
North East Stars were due to play Terminix St Ann’s Rangers on Saturday, in a Round Two Match Day Five fixture, at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima. However, the league issued a media release on Friday, which stated the game was cancelled.
It was revealed in an article on the local website Wired868 that the league’s hierarchy is looking at imposing disciplinary measures for North East Stars.
Club owner Ryan Nunes could not be reached for a comment, but technical director Michael Awai, when contacted, took an evasive approach.
“You shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to the Pro League,” said Awai who, with Nunes, took over the running of the club from long-serving owner Darryl Mahabir earlier this year. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Asked about the status of last Saturday’s cancelled match against Rangers, Awai replied, “I don’t know what’s going on.”
Interim league chairman Richard Fakoory who, ironically, is the owner of St Ann’s Rangers, said yesterday, “There is no club that could hurt this Pro League, as big as they are. (If any club) fall out, the league will continue, it will not lose any image. Football is bigger than the player, (and) the administrator. Football will always play.”
Fakoory, who replaced Joseph Sam Phillip as league chairman in April, continued, “I’m thankful for the Government subvention (but) it’s our League. The league belongs to us, the pro teams. We have to take care of the league. We decided (that) we will play for no prize money but we have to pay for referees, commissioners, administrators and everything.”
Fakoory was upset with the lack of cooperation from both Nunes and Awai.
According to Fakoory, “We haven’t heard from them. They haven’t been paying their fees to (help) run the League. We sent them a letter, they replied to it stating that they we didn’t pay them the prize money from last year. We told them ‘how could that be?’. The previous owner (Darryl Mahabir) told you there were no prize money, what does that have to do with (Nunes and Awai).
“The coach (of the 2017 team Derek King) and all the players knew that.”
Fakoory said he contacted Mahabir who, in turn, stressed that he told Nunes and Awai that there was no prize money at stake last season.
Ironically, Mahabir informed Fakoory that a similar occurrence took place in 2004, when Stars won their first Pro League crown.
“Nevertheless, even if there was a prize, it was for last year’s owner,” Fakoory said. “(Nunes and Awai) bought over the club. We cannot throw them out the league. Remember they’re a shareholder, we all have equal shares. Under the constitution, they could be disciplined or suspended. If they don’t want to contribute to the running of the league, the other nine clubs cannot do it for them. They have to put in their share.”
Fakoory said the clubs will have to pay at least $15,000 per month, before the February 2019 deadline.
“Club Sando and Rangers paid their $130,000 up front, when they got their subventions. Other clubs are doing it monthly. But every club has contributed two or three months already. Not all clubs are up-to-date but they’ve been paying to run the league.
“We’ve talked to (Nunes and Awai), they don’t even come to meetings, they don’t share views, they don’t give ideas.”
Awai was at the helm of Futgof (Future Generation of Players) during the league’s early years (1999 and 2000).
Asked to confirm rumours that the Stars players were not being paid, Fakoory responded, “I heard the talk too but, to me, there is no proof of such a thing. You would hear it from all other clubs.”
Before the start of the 2018 season, Awai was quoted as saying that he was interested in developing talent with this new-look team. Will any punishment affect his drive or is any punishment necessary?
Fakoory replied, “It could be (the latter) because if we do suspend them, should it happen that way (that) they don’t come up to par in the next few days, it’s very possible we’ll write the TTFA and even CONCACAF, and they may be sanctioned. In terms of the players, I don’t know what they will do.”
There is a proposed meeting for the club owners today, at a venue to be decided.