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Brent Sancho - Acting T&T Pro League Chairman and TTFA Board member.

T&T Pro League and Super League clubs are now considering whether the Normalisation Committee, installed by the sport's world governing body (FIFA), has been taking their concerns and proposals to Minister of Sports and Community Development- Shamfa Cudjoe, as per an agreement with both leagues, the normalisation Committee, the managers of the T&T Football Association.

The members of the boards of both leagues do not believe they are.

An agreement was reached among the pro and super leagues, the T&T Football Association and the Ministry of Sports for the Unified League in the form of a National League, to replace the existing set-up of the T&T Pro League and Super League as the top tier and second-tier tournaments. The four organisations had even agreed to create a Steering Committee consisting of representatives from each organisation to pilot the League.

This new development comes in the wake of criticisms by Minister Cudjoe over the lacklustre responses from the pro league and T&T Football Association to the official reopening of sports in a safe-zone arrangement.

Cudjoe said the T&T Pro League has been crying and saying the minister and her government have been stifling football, but now that the sport has returned, there have been little to no responses from the pro league and TTFA.

"The way, for instance, the Pro League was crying out, I expected to see the Pro League and the T&TFA pull up their socks and get out there but that is not happening," Cudjoe said.

On Thursday Guardian Media Sports reached out to members of pro league outfits W Connection, San Juan Jabloteh, Point Fortin Civic and Morvant Caledonia United for comments on Cudjoe's statement, but was directed to acting chairman Brent Sancho who was described as the designated spokesperson for the league.

Sancho, the Central FC founding member told Guardian Media Sports that Cudjoe's statement has left them asking if the normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad and his members have been articulating their concerns to the minister of sports.

As such a decision was taken to pen an official letter to minister Cudjoe expressing their concerns and the way they intend to move forward as a unit. The letter is expected to reach minister Cudjoe's office in a few days' time.

In December last year, the normalisation committee was expected to make a presentation to minister Cudjoe regarding the league, but since then, however, there has been no communication regarding that presentation or if it in fact did take place.

According to Sancho yesterday: " The pro league board decided they will write directly to the minister of sports, so a letter is being penned by the board to put to the minister of sport to articulate their position and to articulate the timelines of what transpired over the last year and a half.

As a founding member of Central FC, the T&T Pro League was approached by the normalisation committee head about a Unified League and was also told that any communication that would go back to the government should go through the normalisation committee.

We requested at that point in time, that the normalisation committee assist with players who were not being paid because of the COVID-19 pandemic, through the COVID relief fund that was given to them by the FIFA, and also to request from the minister of sports, the last tranche of monies that were Cabinet-approved, also to assist with players who were not playing because of the restrictions of the pandemic, but both requests were denied according to the head of the normalisation committee," Sancho said.

Guardian Media Sports was informed that there are concerns regarding the normalisation committee which is not holding up to its end of the agreement which could lead to a break-away by the clubs.

Cudjoe claims that her ministry has been awaiting proposals from the pro league was also met with disgust, Sancho explained: "We have sent in proposals. We have sent in a mock-up of a Cabinet note about a year and a half ago and all of this was a pre-agreement with the normalisation committee. So we had a few proposals in, and then the discussions came about the Unified League which, at that point in time, the pro league, through the understanding of the NC that all discussions regarding league football had to go through the steering committee/normalisation committee."

He continued: "It was supposed to be an official National League that would now serve as the qualifiers for CONCACAF and serve as the top and second-tier league of T&T. Everything else in T&T would have been considered a minor league. When the normalisation committee met with the minister of sports regarding the league, they took the consolidated approach of what was said by the stakeholders, but when we asked to send their representatives, that was not done, so what we said in discussion was presented to the minister of sports, however, we are not certain if it was the same things discussed."

SOURCE: T&T Guardian