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TTFA, SporTT on deck for good of football.

At the heart of T&T’s new football ethic - Part 3

The reality, reiterated by both T&T’s senior men’s national team head coach Stephen Hart and the Ministry of Sport, is that development of the game is not a one-man job.

A common appeal has been made by the Ministry of Sport, SporTT to national sporting organisation (NSO) that government will not finance budgets in entirety, as they urge NSOs to source private sponsors. The delivery of a detailed strategic plan has also been pivotal in the funding of NSOs.

Anthony Creed, executive manager of sport development and performance at the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT) has reiterated that SporTT has done its part of the deal, particularly for the past year where it made contributions to T&T’s senior men’s football team in preparation for the Concacaf Gold Cup and at the tournament itself, which proved successful. The body is currently working on long overdue outstanding payments for trainers and coaches, and a breakdown of figures will soon be available.

In Creed’s estimation, SporTT has supported national football as best it could. He said the relationship between the two parties, the TTFA and SporTT was strong, but the financial demands of the TTFA cannot be facilitated by SporTT, nor can SporTT facilitate budgets in full by any NSO.

“Since the funding, SporTT receives to assist the 16 NGBs (national governing bodies) under its purview, (SporTT) can only give a percentage of their requests. This is normally between 25-35 per cent,” said Creed.

This current fiscal year has seen a request by the TTFA for approximately $20 million, according to Creed. SporTT has senior national football under its purview, while the Ministry of Sport deals with youth teams and other teams affiliated with the TTFA, including the national beach football team. The beach football team, however, received $183,687 for its participation in the qualification tournament for the Fifa Beach World Cup, in Bahamas, which it failed to advance from.

That figure, along with $142,333, for T&T’s Under-17 team which participated in a World Cup qualification competition in Colombia, late last year, was presented to the TTFA, as the Ministry of Sport could not facilitate the request at that time.

Creed gave a total figure of $6,223,450 spent for the past fiscal year, but also includes most recently the two friendly matches against Jamaica and the home friendly against New Zealand. Also presented in SporTT’s contribution was a bill of just over $86,000 for TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee’s visit with Fifa president Sepp Blatter, in Zurich, Switzerland, earlier this year.

“SporTT operates with plans from the organisations that it serves; strategic as well as operational. The new TTFA executive sent their operational plan for the last and present fiscal year. As a consequence, they were reviewed and (an) agreement was reached. Then a service level agreement was signed off by both parties,” said Creed.

As earlier indicated, coach Hart has plans of utilising his local-based players and those on winter breaks for camps and perhaps a couple of friendly matches, before an official Fifa-sanctioned match is played in March, where a high quality opponent will be sought, once the cost is in range.

Asked for his opinion on the current relationship between both parties, Creed responded, “It is excellent. In fact, there are ongoing discussions and recommendations (between the TTFA and SporTT). As a matter of fact, the TTFA has moved from their previous location on Ana Street (Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook) to an office in the Hasely Crawford Stadium, which has saved them rent payments.”

What can be done to ensure T&T’s senior football team is in a position comfortable enough to focus on its development? “Assistance from corporate Trinidad,” says Creed. “The production of a proper business plan which includes marketing. Presently the TTFA is awaiting pledges made from other bodies,” he said noting Joma and Coca-Cola as partners who have already put pen to paper with the TTFA.

Asked if T&T needs to participate in all Fifa-sanctioned international dates, Creed said: “It depends on the major goal of the TTFA. That has to link with the TTFA’s strategic plan for eight years, which has to be rolled out in its annual operational plan. This will have to be on the athletic pathway which has been prepared for the national senior team for its future goals.”

Creed also highlighted the contribution made by SporTT to four Pro League clubs to the total of just under $4 million, and to three National Super League clubs ($180,000). He said requests by other Pro League clubs are awaiting board approval, as with those from the National Super League. The three Super League clubs, he said, are those which previously requested assistance.