Tue, Jul

Smith’s broken promises hurting Pro League.

Pro League documents for Cabinet next week

Chairman of the T&T Pro League Sam Phillip tendered his resignation on Thursday, citing an increase in the workload at his job.

Yesterday Phillip, whose resignation followed that of the League’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dexter Skeene last week, paid special tribute to the Sport Company of T&T for its assistance over the years.

However, he expressed concern by the reluctance of Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith to honour a promise he made with the Pro League last year.

“What the Pro League requested last year was for government to allow us the opportunity to use the community grounds in Morvant Laventille for Caledonia, the California ground in Couva for W Connection, the President’s Ground for St Ann’s Rangers, the Sangre Grande Recreation Ground for North East Stars and the ground in Point Fortin for Point Fortin Civic to take the sport to the communities.

This however, never materialised, although minister Smith made it public he would deliver on his promise,” Phillip said.

According to Phillip the idea was to take the sport to the communities where they would garner support and become self sustainable within a period of about three years.

“This is what we asked the minister for, and we were given the assurance it would be granted,” Phillip noted.

It was hoped that with the grant funding of $50,000 to eight out of the 10 clubs, and additional monies to manage the affairs of the sport, the League and clubs would soon be able to stand on its own, as hundreds of supporters flock to the community grounds on match days. “There is no doubt about this, we have proven it,” Phillip said.

Instead, the Board of the Pro League met with the sport company on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain and was told it had to re-submit documents to be taken to the Cabinet for approval.

Phillip said the documents which were submitted last year were re-submitted yesterday morning for Minister Smith to take to Cabinet next week, as a last-ditch effort to secure funding ahead of the pro league start next month.

Attempts by the League to source funding from corporate T&T, to date, has had no positive response, but Phillip said they will not stop trying. In the meanwhile, the League intends to joggle with First Citizens and FLOW, the sponsors of two competitions in the League, to get the top flight football tournament off the ground. “And we are also hoping to receive positive responses from the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) and other corporate citizens soon,” Phillip explained.

Regardless of what happens the pro league will go on as planned Phillip assured, saying ‘With or without funding there will be football among the pro league teams.”

Phillip replaced Michael Larry Romany, who stepped down as chairman of the T&T Pro League on May 25th, 2017. Romany, 60, a polymer chemist by profession, held the position for 14 years.

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