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Defending champions CLICO San Juan Jabloteh will be staying in the Pro League for the 2009 season, as they seek a hat-trick of league crowns and their fifth overall.
The Pro League’s executive committee met at the league’s office in Curepe on Tuesday and, according to a source, the Jabloteh management noted that they will be weighing their options, at a monetary level, but will definitely participate in this year’s tournament.

Jabloteh’s involvement in the 2009 season was initially in doubt as their sponsors CL Financial announced on Friday that it required a Government bailout to stay afloat.

CLICO has been funding the Jabloteh squad for nearly a decade, and the financial development within the CL (Colonial Life) group put Jabloteh’s position in the league in jeopardy.

But it was announced at Tuesday’s meeting that the squad will indeed be going for a three-peat.

Police, who were forced to withdraw from last year’s competition due to a directive by then Commissioner Trevor Paul to recall officers into the force to combat the spiralling crime rate, have been reinstated into the 2009 event.

And St Ann’s Rangers, who were indecisive whether or not they will participate this year as a result of a lack of sponsorship and finances, will remain in the fray.

But 2004 champions North East Stars may indeed pull out of this year’s contest, since they are struggling to accumulate finance, as well as the means to upgrade their home base, the Sangre Grande Recreation Ground.

Besides Police, the Tobago pair of Angostura 1976 FC Phoenix and St Clair Coaching School, as well as the South-based outfits South End and Marabella Flames, all applied to gain entry into this year’s tournament.

A decision will be made on any additional entrant, or entrants, by the league’s hierarchy next week.

The other teams expected to remain from the 2008 campaign are runners-up W Connection, Caledonia AIA, Joe Public, Defence Force, United Petrotrin, Ma Pau and Tobago United.