THREE-TIME reigning TT Pro League champions Central FC are struggling to stay afloat with salaries reportedly unpaid for the last three months. The club has not received its $50,000 monthly subventions from the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) since May this year.
However, with the League on a break until September 8, the players within the club are still being urged to fulfil their contractual obligations, including reporting to training sessions and giving of their best during club matches.
According to a team member, who chose to remain anonymous, “Everybody supports each other. The older ones are helping the younger ones and the younger ones are looking out for the older ones.” However, the Central FC member admitted that the salary issues is putting a damper on things within the club.
“We’ve not been coping (well),” he said. “We have some players from the southern areas and a lot of them have to be virtually borrowing money to come to practice (at Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima or Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo). And it’s been tough, to say it lightly.” The team member acknowledged that the lure of overseas contracts is the main driving force among the current crop of players.
“Most of the players do stick around because of the opportunities to go outside. I think that’s mostly why a lot of the players are there right now.
Players are just looking for the light (at the end of) the dark tunnel, the possibility of getting (an overseas contract). That’s why players try to stick it out.” The 2017 FA Trophy will kick off in mid-September and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has announced a number of financial incentives for the teams.
“I think the players will look at it as an incentive but, when you look back at the Pro League, there is outstanding monies from the Pro League (since) three years ago,” the team member noted.
“It’s good that (the TTFA) want to put money into it but its still a damper because you never know if you’re actually going to see that money. So it’s a good and a bad at the same time.” Brent Sancho, owner and managing director at the club, admitted that the 10 Pro League teams were promised by Darryl Smith (who replaced Sancho as the Sports Minister) that subventions would e given throughout the 2017 season.
He pointed out, “We’ve had constant dialogues with the players. We’ve spoken to them.
In some measures we’ve put things in writing, in some measures we’ve spoken to them verbally.
We’ve allowed them to know the scenario.
“It’s a very difficult situation for the players but, at the same point in time, there are clubs (globally) who haven’t paid their players for three months etcetera,” Sancho continued.
“It happens, but the players still have an obligation to train and play games for their clubs. It’s football, that is the way it is.
“One of the reasons why we’re in our financial situation is that we’ve paid players bonuses (that) we’ve had no business paying. We didn’t receive any bonus. But we’ve tried to pay each player. We’ve tried numerous ways of raising funds but, at the same point in time, we still expect the players to come out and train.” With regards to sponsorship of the club, Sancho stated, “We’ve spoken to several sponsors.
They’ve all said the same thing, (due to) the financial climate of the country, they’re not sponsoring.”