Wed, May

T-League will happen — Sancho.

Brent San­cho, a mem­ber of a com­mis­sion formed to im­ple­ment the UE­FA/FI­FA-pro­posed foot­ball leagues in T&T, says the T-League will hap­pen.

San­cho's com­ment came amidst fears there will be no foot­ball this year due to the on­go­ing woes faced by the com­mis­sion in get­ting the league go­ing. How­ev­er, San­cho yes­ter­day said all will be done to en­sure the T-League, which will com­prise a Tier 1 for T&T Pro League clubs and a Tier 2 for T&T Su­per League teams, will take place this year, even if it means the tour­na­ment will run in­to next year.

San­cho said the tim­ing of the fund­ing from Gov­ern­ment, through the Min­istry of Sports and Youth Af­fairs and the FI­FA For­ward Project, has been one of their chal­lenges. He is ex­pect­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s promised fund­ing to be avail­able by next week, cou­pled with funds from the FI­FA For­ward project.

Pro League clubs San Juan Jabloteh, North East Stars, Point Fortin FC, Ter­minix La Hor­quet­ta Rangers, Mor­vant Cale­do­nia Unit­ed, W Con­nec­tion, Cen­tral FC and Club San­do will each re­ceive $450,000 from the Gov­ern­ment, of which $115,000 each will be put in­to an ac­count that falls un­der the purview of the com­mis­sion with over­sight of the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TTFA).

The funds from Gov­ern­ment and FI­FA, San­cho said, will be used to run the af­fairs of the league. The fi­nan­cial in­put from all the clubs will al­so cov­er for Pro League cam­paign­ers - De­fence Force and Po­lice FC, which did not have to put out any mon­ey as teams un­der na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty. Su­per League clubs are not re­quired to put out any funds.

San­cho, who is Cen­tral FC's own­er and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said for all these rea­sons and more the T-League has to get go­ing. The league will be run by the com­mis­sion un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the TTFA. He al­so said he be­lieves com­mis­sion chair­man Lind­say Gillette is the best man to lead the sport in T&T.

How­ev­er, San­cho could not say whether the league will be a one or two-round com­pe­ti­tion but not­ed that “even if it has to go un­til Feb­ru­ary or March next year, that will be fine.”

On­ly re­cent­ly, Min­is­ter of Sports Sham­fa Cud­joe said her min­istry had not re­leased the $2.4 mil­lion in fund­ing for the T-League be­cause of un­cer­tain­ty sur­round­ing the start and how it will be func­tion.

In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day, how­ev­er, San­cho said, “Over the past three years, dif­fer­ent for­mats of in­for­ma­tion that they have re­quest­ed, this year the for­mat has changed again. But that be­ing said, the Min­is­ter has as­sured that she is will­ing to meet and we are pos­i­tive that once we have those dis­cus­sions we can start mov­ing for­ward. She has made it clear that the mon­ey is there, so it’s just about con­ver­sa­tion. Like any­thing else, once there is a will by all par­ties to make this a re­al­i­ty, then it will hap­pen.”

Cud­joe’s con­cerns sur­round mat­ters of com­pli­ance for clubs et cetera but San­cho said di­a­logue is the ide­al so­lu­tion.

The T-League is sched­uled to start in mid-to-late Sep­tem­ber. In the mean­time, how­ev­er, the one-round pre-sea­son As­cen­sion In­vi­ta­tion Foot­ball League is on­go­ing and spon­sors of this tour­na­ment have giv­en the as­sur­ance a sec­ond round of match­es will take place if a start to the T-League is not forth­com­ing.