Thu, Jan

In this May 8, 2020 file photo, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith tries to save a ball kicked by Terry Fenwick during the opening of the refurbished police football grounds on Long Circular Road, St James. - Ayanna Kinsale

THE TT Police Service (TTPS) corporate communications unit was granted permission to have the Commissioner’s Cup, but the TTPS said the guidelines given to host the tournament is not practical and have officially decided to “cancel/postpone” the tournament for 2020.

Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith has been asking the Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh and the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram for clarity as to why casual sporting activities are being allowed, but not an organised sporting tournament.

The Commissioner’s Cup is an Under-18 football tournament that was scheduled to start in August.

On Monday, at a media briefing Griffith said that the Commissioner’s Cup is off.

However, a TTPS media release on Thursday said the TTPS was given permission to host the tournament.

“Today the TTPS received correspondence from the Ministry of Health's state counsel one, indicating that the Commissioner’s Cup can indeed be allowed to proceed, but that it must do so with a total of only 25 persons per game. We are at a loss to understand how this is even possible. Each team has 11 players and a coach, plus there are also referees, linesmen, and support staff. Is the correspondence suggesting we have no coaches, substitutes, and/or no medical/first aid personnel at games?”

Griffith said in order to have 25 people at a match only two teams of 11 with a referee and two linesmen can be allowed at the venue.

Griffith, as he said on Monday, reiterated that he finds it strange that young people are being allowed to participate in other activities.

“I continue to find it strange that the Minister of Health continues daily to state that young persons playing organised team sports is not recommended, (young people being described as those Under-18) even going as far as suggesting that parents play football with their kids in their backyard, yet he says nothing about the same young persons in water parks, being on a beach, or being in a movie theatre which is enclosed. In each of those situations, young people can number in the hundreds in a relatively confined space.”

Griffith questions why adults are allowed to play sports and said the impending Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament will violate the guidelines.

“(The Health Minister) is also apparently okay with persons Over-18 playing an organised sport. However for this to happen the interpretation of the Ministry of Health’s state counsel one clearly cannot be applied since the numbers for such a competition will surely exceed 25 in total. Even more interestingly, the proposed Government-sanctioned CPL tournament will be in violation of the said ordinance based on the interpretation of the Ministry of Health.”

The release confirmed that the Commissioner’s Cup is off. “In this regard, the CoP wishes to state that based on the correspondence sent to the Office of Commissioner (on Thursday), that rather than have a tournament with no coaches, no medics, no trainers, no security, and no substitutes, and rather than risk injury to players who cannot be substituted even if they were to, unfortunately, get injured, I shall officially cancel/postpone the Commissioner’s Cup. This I’m sure will please the Health Ministry as it has clearly been their objective to so influence me all along.”

Griffith said the Commissioner’s Cup is an opportunity for youngsters to attain scholarships to travel to England or ply their trade in the leagues in T&T.