Sat, Feb

T&T's Super League faces uncertain future.

The sta­tus of the T&T Su­per League in lo­cal foot­ball could be on shaky grounds with the re­cent ap­proval of the Pro League Sec­ond Di­vi­sion.

On Wednes­day, An­tho­ny Moore, a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee formed to Shep­pard in foot­ball for 2019, said at­tempts will be made with all stake­hold­ers of the sport to en­sure that the FI­FA's man­date of to­tal club foot­ball is achieved by the stag­ing of both the T&T Pro League and Sec­ond Di­vi­sion tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing hav­ing talks with clubs in the T&T Su­per League and the Re­gion­al As­so­ci­a­tions.

"We can­not force teams to play in the pro league and sec­ond di­vi­sion, but we can use the Cham­pi­on of Cham­pi­ons tour­na­ment for teams from the re­gion­al as­so­ci­a­tions, a sys­tem that has been used in the past as a means of get­ting teams," Moore as­sured.

The T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Board mem­ber, who is al­so pres­i­dent of the To­ba­go Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TFA), could not re­spond to con­cerns of the fu­ture of the su­per league in light of the new de­vel­op­ments. Con­cerns were raised about which league would have been rec­og­nized as the le­git­i­mate sec­ond-tier com­pe­ti­tion when the Pro League's sec­ond di­vi­sion kicks off on Oc­to­ber 4, and whether the su­per league would be con­sid­ered a feed­er pro­gramme to the sec­ond di­vi­sion if there will be pro­mo­tion and de­mo­tion.

Guardian Me­dia Sports al­so sought to find out if teams from the re­gion­al as­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tions will be re­quired to go through the T&TSL on its way to the new sec­ond di­vi­sion af­ter the Cham­pi­on of Cham­pi­ons play­offs is held.

Su­per League pres­i­dent Kei­th Look Loy said on Wednes­day that he had no com­ment when asked for his views on some of the con­cerns raised.

On­ly re­cent­ly, Look Loy re­ject­ed an of­fer for his league/clubs to be the Pro League's sec­ond di­vi­sion, opt­ing in­stead to have his own 2019 sea­son of the TTSL, which is set to kick off on the same day as the pro league (Oc­to­ber 4).

How­ev­er, when Guardian Me­dia con­tact­ed some of the su­per league teams they re­vealed that their de­ci­sion to play in ei­ther the TTSL or the Pro League Sec­ond Di­vi­sion will be in­flu­enced by whether they will have to pay to play, and if they will be play­ing for free.

Randy Ha­gley, the Guaya Unit­ed man­ag­er said he will play in the Pro League sec­ond di­vi­sion. He has al­so called on the foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion, be­ing led by David John-Williams, to ban the su­per league this year, due to dis­agree­ment on the way the league has been man­aged, as well as fail­ure to ho­n­our fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments.

Ter­ry Williams of the Mara­bel­la Fam­i­ly Cri­sis Cen­tre (MFCC), said his de­ci­sion will be based on as­sur­ances that there will be fund­ing avail­able this year, say­ing "One thing I know, is that if we have to pay $45, 000 to play in the TTSL, we will not be play­ing be­cause we do not have that mon­ey to pay." MFCC's fi­nan­cial woes were wors­ened by the clo­sure of their main spon­sor Petrotrin.

Williams said he has been giv­en promis­es by the su­per league in the past that a spon­sor will be sought, but this has not ma­te­ri­alised and he will, there­fore, wait to see this in writ­ing first.

Derek Ed­wards of Pe­tit Val­ley Diego Mar­tin Unit­ed echoed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments, say­ing his de­ci­sion will be made on whether they will have to pay to play, as well as if they will be com­pen­sat­ed for the foot­ball they play at the end. The su­per league has since called an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing at 8:30 am on Sun­day to ad­dress these con­cerns and chart the way for­ward.