Tue, Feb

Super League must be fair to all clubs.

Army going the distance

“We are not out the T&T Super League as yet,” Defence Force manager Ryan Ottley said on Monday, a day after his team was one of 10, including the T&T Under- 20 team, to be dumped out of this season’s super league action.

Ottley has already written to the T&T Football Association (TTFA) demanding fair treatment to his team and all other teams blocked from participating in the TTSL, on the basis that the TTSL granted an extension to new club Erin FC and 1976 Phoenix to pay a $45,000 registration fee which is a requirement for gaining entry and which the 10 clubs did not pay on Sunday.

Ottley said if the TTFA does not address his issue he will then take it to the CONCACAF and then the FIFA, the world governing body for football. Erin FC paid half the amount and gave the assurance that its prize monies for winning the Southern Football Association (SFA) League competition, will be given by the parent SFA.

The SFA itself appeared to have given the TTSL a commitment it will pay.

The super league is set to kick off on June 10 and Ottley, whose team won the Premier Division title back in 2015/2016, believes his team will be ready to compete again, saying in any system where justice is sought, fairness to all is paramount.

“Once a team was given an extension on Sunday then every team ought to be treated as fairly,” he said, before slamming Look Loy for disregarding the League’s mandate of developing its members.

Ottley said while he supports the idea of commercialising the TTSL and making it more professional, the League itself has to ensure that all clubs are up to that level first before taking such a stance.

“Football in T&T has been changing and it would take some time before change is complete, as clubs face many challenges.

For instance, in the case of the Defence Force and other State agencies, we face excruciating circumstances where slow government processes have prevented us from paying the registration fee,” Ottley explained.

He added: “The current economic climate must also be taken into account, bearing in mind clubs are grappling to become compliant, yet they have to look for funding. We are already not playing for any prize monies, so what is the incentive?” Guardian Media Sports learnt that clubs only had to pay the registration fee on Sunday as no club was deemed non-compliant.

And even so, Ottley said there were teams such as Harlem Strikers and Marabella Family Crisis Centre (MFCC) that allegedly showed up with cheques to pay, but were refused.

Yesterday, Terrence Boissiere, manager of MFCC had to deal with the death of one of his players -Noah Simmons, who was also a player for Shiva Boys Hindu College, gunned down on the Trainline in Marabella. Boissiere said he was contacted by 16-year-old Simmons early yesterday morning that he was on his way to the centre, but soon after Boissiere received another call relating the sad news.

In tears, he said: “This is what happens when we are denied entry into the Super League and refused support from corporate T&T. On Sunday I told Look Loy and the membership that our entry into the league is not just to play football, but rather to save lives. We are losing our young men in this area and it’s why we have been running this centre for 26 years.”