Trinidad and Tobago Premier Football League (TTPFL) tier two clubs have proposed the formation of a joint committee with the TTPFL and TT Super League (TTSL) board, to source additional sponsorship for their participation in this year’s domestic second division, which kicks off on May 27.
In a letter to TT Football Association (TTFA) general secretary Amiel Mohammed from TTSL president Jameson Rigues, dated Thursday, Rigues said tier two clubs are cash-strapped and in need of assistance.
Rigues called on the TTFA “to have an open mind, to making a concerted effort, to sincerely working with us to achieving progress in our plight for support to the clubs participating in your TTPFL tier two.”
His letter came on the heels of Friday’s official launch of the TTPFL tier two competition, which is scheduled to feature 11 teams – nine from Trinidad and two from Tobago.
It proposed that the potential joint committee would assist clubs to “seek out sponsorship from private sector businesses and public sector companies or any possible entity towards the first and second season of the two.”
Rigues said clubs do not want to “fall into a situation of debt and unfulfilled promises to stakeholders” and “are fearful of making commitments to members of their coaching staff, players, suppliers and other stakeholders, where certain elements of operations cannot be avoided.”
And despite the TTFA, through its tier two executive committee, providing teams with inter-island transport to and from games, clubs believe more could be done to help offset their costs.
Rigues added, “While the commitment to assist with ground transportation is a step in the right direction, and while we recognise your efforts to cover inter-island airfare for tier two clubs, we still are a long way from the level of expenditure clubs are faced with to participate in your league.”
The TTPFL tier two season runs for 14 weeks culminating in August. Each team plays each other once and the top six teams enter a playoff round. The truncated season for both tiers means there will be no promotion or relegation at the end of the season.
Initially, the season was scheduled to be two rounds. But with the change, and a significant reduction in matches, Rigues suggested that some of the league’s savings could be pumped into tier two clubs to aid their participation.
“The new format would significantly decrease your (TTPFL) spend on inter-island airfare, referee and match commissioner fees, ambulance services, etc., which, some of the savings can now be directed to the clubs to assist in offsetting some of the clubs’ unavoidable expenses.
“To clarify the intent to receive financial support to tier two clubs, I wish to state that they are of the view that for some of the expenses, in addition to the direct cash support, a similar medium of processing tier one clubs’ players and staff payroll and other expenses as a viable option than can be utilised for tier two clubs.”
This year’s competing teams are Police FC, Guaya United, Harlem Strikers, QPCC, Matura Reunited, Petit Valley/ Diego Martin United, San Fernando Giants, Defence Force, UTT and Tobago’s Bethel United and Phoenix Sports Club.
Rigues wrote that “clubs are committed to participating in what we believe is a new dawn for local football, however, in the interest of compromise, clubs would be willing to let the prize money remain as is, but monies must be found for assistance to clubs participating in the tier two, as is the case with tier one clubs.”
Rigues said tier two clubs “own” the Super League “as members holding shares in a company” and that “each member had a vested interest to invest in the operations of the company tasked with the responsibility of executing the TTSL competitions and handling the affairs of its members.”