Tue, Jun

Pro League CEO under fire.

As Sportsmax TV deal in jeopardy.

New T&T Pro League Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Julia Baptiste has found herself in hot water after a decision to reveal August 3 as the starting date for the League, and essentially go against a decision of the Board.

A few TT Pro League Board members, wishing to remain anonymous, are fuming over this announcement, as they believe it could potentially affect a sponsorship deal with Caribbean Sports Television Network Sportsmax, the Ministry of Tourism and the T&T Pro League moving forward.

One Board member said the parties were close to sealing a deal that would enable the League to be televised live on Sportsmax, through the help of the Ministry of Tourism.

The deal is expected to provide the cash-strapped Pro League with much-needed advertising revenue, particularly in the midst of the current economic situation.

Guardian Media Sports learnt that the Board made a decision on Monday to push back the start of the League until an agreement was reached, and monies to pay prizes etc could be determined.

But according to the members, Baptiste decided that the August 3 start would remain, without consulting the Board, and thereby creating anger among members.

They are hoping her decision does not hamper the parties closing the deal, as a gala launch would be held if an agreement is made. Sportsmax CEO Oliver Mc Intosh is already scheduled to arrive in T&T on Sunday to continue talks and possibly sign.

Another Board member said yesterday: “Even an agreement will take another six weeks then we should wait because it will change the League and improve the financial position we have found ourselves in.”

He added, “I think television is the only thing to save the pro league at this point, as people across T&T, the region and the globe will be exposed to it and it will lead to advertising revenue.”

When contacted yesterday, Baptiste said she did not want to discuss matters of the Board in the public domain and would do so at the next meeting. The Board members, it is understood, have asked for an urgent meeting to deal with the matter and are awaiting a response.

For the past years, the League was played with no cash prizes available and winning clubs are still clinging to a promise that it will be forthcoming.

It is hoped an agreement among the parties will put the League in a position of financial stability and its dependence on government for help will one day be a thing of the past.

A few days ago, Central FC players don their football boots in protest of the promised $50,000 grant from government for clubs through the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. The promised amount is expected to help clubs pay salaries to players.