Wed, May

Colin Wharfe, CEO of the TTFA's Senior Men's League competitions

Offers of support to get audited financial statements done were made to all clubs seeking entry into the T&T Premier League, as well as those who were accepted, said the league chief executive officer (CEO) Colin Wharfe yesterday.

His statement comes a day after Cunupia FC, one of 12 clubs seeking to reach regional-license status, stated through coach Michael De Four that it would cost the team between $20,000 to $75,000 to receive their audited statement. De Four also noted on Tuesday, that that amount was in addition to other costs his team would have to put out for uniforms, transportation, refreshments, insurance and other miscellaneous costs.

Wharfe said to date, nine of the 12 teams have received their regional license which means they must have gotten their audited statements, which is a requirement by CONCACAF and the sport’s world governing body, FIFA.

He told Guardian Media Sports yesterday that, not only was assistance offered for clubs’ finances to be in order, but they also sought to ensure that clubs achieve their objectives of becoming fully compliant.

“I was not aware that they (Cunupia FC) would have requested audited financial statement support in terms of getting service providers to them or if they can do the audits themselves. So we have extended publicly and to the teams on several occasions, that we are here to work with you to achieve your objectives,” Wharfe said.

“We laid some parameters around what they could and could not do, providing support in terms of trying to get an auditor that may be able to work with three or four clubs to have their audited financial statements done, was one of the offers we had made.

“We have said to them if you need guidance, support or whatever with respect to closing out an item on their application for club licenses, we will assist them.”

He noted also that if the football association did not make a decision on if clubs could have functioned without some items on the application, they would have called CONCACAF to seek assistance on the level of flexibility clubs had to cope without others.

Wharfe later responded to concerns by clubs that the $50,000 grant to be given to all participating teams by the government and FIFA would not be enough, by saying that he will not respond to Cunupia FC specifically because he does not know about its history or the context in which De Four’s statement was made, but he was willing to say no club was promised total financing for the league.

“That was given from the get-go. Nobody said that they were going to be 100 per cent financed. What the government said was this is what we’re prepared to give you, but you need to learn to fish.

“These clubs have been around for 20-odd years, and to be consistently requiring third-party support and not demonstrating their ability to support themselves creates a challenge from my perspective.

“You heard the Minister of Sport and Community Development at the launch that everybody needs to get their act together, don’t just come to ask for money.”

Tier 1 of the T&T Premier League gets going on March 10 but Cunupia will begin their action on April 26 against Caledonia AIA at the Arima Velodrome from 4 pm.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian