AFTER being suspended for two round of matches, North East Stars, the defending Pro League champions, have been cleared to return to league action on Sunday when they face Police in a round two match day seven fixture. This game will take place at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima from 3 pm.
This will be the first time that Stars will be on the field of play, since they were temporarily suspended earlier this month for non-payment of their $130,000 registration fee.
Interim league chairman Richard Fakoory confirmed he held a fruitful meeting with North East Stars owner Ryan Nunes at the TT Olympic Committee office in Port of Spain yesterday morning.
“He gave a commitment and I appreciate that,” said Fakoory.
According to Fakoory, “It’s a verbal agreement, but they will do it. I’m confident Ryan Nunes is a man of his word and I think he will.
“He said he will pay, so it had nothing to do with last year’s (lack of prize) money. He understands the position of the league.”
In an earlier interview, Fakoory revealed the North East Stars’ management, responding to a letter issued by the league, expressed their disappointment over the non-payment of prize money for last year’s league success, even though no cash rewards were on offer.
“They’re playing in the league, they’re playing in the Pro Bowl, they resolved their issues,” said Fakoory.
The $130,000 sum, which is paid by all 10 participating Pro League clubs, will go towards the running of the league – particularly costs of referees, match commissioners and the administrative arm.
Asked about the terms agreed by North East Stars to pay the fee, Fakoory responded, “They’ve made arrangements to pay, like all the other clubs. I’m not sure if they’ll pay all one time or how it’s going to be done, but they made a commitment, they’re going to be paying the league. I’m comfortable they will.”
Michael Awai, technical director of North East Stars, was unaware of his team’s impending return to fold.
When contacted yesterday, Awai said, “We aint get any fixtures yet. (When) we get the fixtures then I’ll respond to you.”
Asked if he knew about the club resolving their issues with the league, Awai replied, “(I) don’t know. You’ll have to talk to the Pro League.”
Was it an uncomfortable feeling for the league, as it faced a major issue with the 2017 title-holders?
According to Fakoory, “I don’t know how they looked at it, but I didn’t think we looked at it that way, for any decisions to be made.
“Not because they’re the defending champions, they could get a (bligh) over any other club and be delinquent. It doesn’t work that way. I’m the acting chairman (but) if my club (St Ann's Rangers) is delinquent or short, they’ll face the penalty. If the Board decides to punish them, then so be it for my club.”
The League will resume on Friday from the two-week international break with a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Central FC will face Terminix St Ann’s Rangers at 6 pm, followed by the clash between San Juan Jabloteh and Morvant Caledonia United.
There will also be a pair of games on Sunday, at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. Club Sando will oppose Defence Force at 4 pm, and leaders W Connection will square off against Point Fortin Civic.