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Tue, Aug

Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe
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Pro League 2018 season kicks off Friday but…

COMPLIANT Pro League clubs Central FC, North East Stars, St Ann’s Rangers, Morvant Caledonia United, Club Sando and San Juan Jabloteh, are yet to receive their promised Government subvention from the Sport Company.

Last Friday, the Ministry issued a media release, which noted that each compliant club will receive $600,000 this year, $450,000 next year and $337,500 in 2020. Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe revealed then that the money had already been transferred to the Sport Company for disbursement to compliant clubs.

W Connection and Point Fortin Civic were yet to submit their financial documents and statements to become compliant.

Chairman of the TT Pro League, Richard Fakoory, said yesterday that he is yet to get any feedback from the compliant clubs about the disbursement of funds.

“All the (media said) that it’s going to happen supposedly by the end of this week,” said Fakoory. “But nobody’s spoken to me at this point in time.”

Fakoory, who is also the owner of St Ann’s Rangers, said, “I don’t think any club has got it, but we (Rangers) surely didn’t get it. It’s forthcoming and that’s all I know. But nobody has contacted me at least.”

Asked if he was contacted from any official from the Sports Ministry, Fakoory replied, “Nobody from anywhere.”

The 2018 season will begin with a double-header on Friday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Jabloteh will square off against Point Fortin in the opening match, followed by a showdown between Defence Force and Morvant Caledonia United.

Fakoory pointed out that the clubs have received the draft fixtures for the 2018 season. “If they have any problems they can go back to (the League) to explain or to query any changes. But I don’t think any of that has happened.”

Fakoory replaced Joseph Sam Phillip as League chairman in April.

Asked about his expectations for this season, Fakoory replied, “I know it’s going to be a tight season. I think it’s going to be very exciting. All the clubs are involved and will be playing every weekend (two matches on Fridays and three on Saturdays), and Tuesdays (five matches).”

He continued, “(The season) will probably finish in December. It’s going to be very close but it’s good for our national players to be playing. I think it’s going to be very competitive too.

“Looking at the First Citizens Cup, a couple clubs stand out as clubs to be respected. Defence Force, Central FC, W Connection and Police are surely the four top clubs. I’m giving Club Sando an outside chance,” Fakoory added.

During the past couple seasons, community grounds have been used, notably the Barataria Recreation Ground and Morvant Recreation Ground, by Jabloteh and Morvant Caledonia respectively.

Fakoory is hopeful that community grounds can be used this season, providing that they meet Pro League standards.

“The intentions are (that) we want it in the community but sometimes some of the community grounds are not properly adequate for both teams, like dressing rooms,” he said. “There are a lot of problems. Some clubs who could do it, they are doing it. Like me, for one, I do not have a community ground so I would have to use one of the stadiums.”

He continued, “Of course, it’s a professional league and some grounds are not ready for professional football. But any club that feel that their ground is capable, we have a committee who will inspect the ground, and we will play. That’s what we want, that’s always the intention of the Pro League.”