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Victorious: Central FC lift another trophy, this time as Digicel Charity Shield champions.

A SEVEN YEAR runs has ended with international communications provider Digicel pulling out as title sponsor of the Trinidad and Tobago Professional Football League.

The communication giants were title sponsors as well as sponsors of the $100,000 season-ending Digicel Pro Bowl. The impact of their departure has already been felt, with the cancellation of the season-opening Digicel Charity Shield carded for last Friday when the league champions Central FC would have met Pro Bowl winners Defence Force.

But all is not, lost according to TT Pro League CEO Dexer Skeene, in confirming the pullout of the league's title sponsors.

“Digicel's contract was up and we have mutually agreed to end the arrangement. They have other strategic interests and they still want to be a part of the league in some way,” Skeene said.

“It was mutually beneficial. We did not expect it to last forever, and we have the opportunity to move on and develop from here now. It is about growing now and developing and utilising the platform that they (Digicel) laid,” he added.

Readjustments have already begun, according to Skeene who said some of a recent US $125,000 donation from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) would go towards prize money.

“Thankfully, the TTFA have come in and they have helped fill the gap. What the TTFA and we will be able to do is bring other partners now to add to the prize money.”

Skeene continued: “I am very excited for this season because we are in discussions with several corporate partners who are expecting an interest.” We are able now to shift the model in terms of the structure of the tournaments and having sponsors aligned with different sectors. For instance, we will have a drinks sponsor, a financial partner, an apparel partner and a television partner.

Everyone will be now able to have their branding.” Skeene said potential partners are buying into the movement back to community football that was started successfully last season. Continuing the model of teams playing on community grounds, North East Stars will be playing home matches at the Arima Velodrome, St Ann's Rangers at St Augustine Secondary, San Juan Jabloteh at the Barataria Oval and Point Fortin Civic at the Mahaica Oval.

“Our sponsors are buying into that, as well as television broadcasting of the games,” Skeene said.

Skeene also spoke of profit sharing among the clubs in various areas. “So, we get drinks (sponsored); some of that will do to the clubs as well so they won't have to find money for that,” the League CEO said.