ACTING Pro League chairman Brent Sancho has described the decision by the T&T Football Association (TTFA) to move the national senior men's football match against Anguilla from Monday to Sunday as "total disrespect."
A TTFA media release said the shift in date was due to FIFA regulations.”The match will be played at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, at 6 pm.
Ssancho said in a press release on Friday: “As a Pro League club owner, and now as acting chairman of the T&T Pro League, I have always tried to support our national teams. Even when we have had important games, we have still tried to accommodate TTFA’s wishes.
“But this decision by David John-Williams – because I know for a fact that this hasn’t come from the TTFA board – is totally disrespecting clubs, players, supporters and sponsors.
"We have First Citizens Cup matches being played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you want to play senior men’s international on the same weekend?”
Sancho said most clubs had planned to play their national players over the weekend in the First Citizens Cup. The former national defender and Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs said it is an intense schedule and clubs don't have to release their players because the national match is not in a FIFA window.
"That can never be healthy for players. And, of course, as this game now falls outside of the FIFA window, clubs are not compelled to release their players. While clubs may have respect for the position of Dennis Lawrence, they may well use this opportunity to vent their displeasure at David John-Williams lack of respect.”
Eleven Pro League clubs will be in action over the weekend.
“We have the ridiculous situation where the national team will kick off at exactly the same time as a First Citizens Cup match, on a surface that would have seen two 90-minute games played the day before. Imagine the condition of that surface for an international game if it rains on Saturday!”
Sancho added that the Cup fixtures had been arranged weeks ago and it was poor planning by the TTFA that forced it to bring the game forward.
“Even playing on Monday as originally planned was ambitious to say the least. Clubs would want a full roster for the (Cup) and the recovery time for players was dangerously short as it was. So to bring the game forward is nothing but crazy.”
To further add to the anger of club coaches, no official confirmation has been sent to clubs or the league of the match against Anguilla.
Sancho said a formal letter of complaint would be sent to John-Williams by Pro League CEO Julia Baptiste in an attempt to avoid such thoughtless decision-making in the future.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday