Former national goalkeeper, now turn ESPN Analyst, Shaka Hislop believes the structure of the T&T Pro League was designed for it to fail from the start.
Hislop comments came at the launch of the first ever Commonwealth Caribbean Sports Law book at the University Inn and Conference Centre, UWI Campus, St Augustine at which he was the keynote speaker. The lanky custodian whose exploits on and off the field have made him a household name worldwide said "I don't think the league should be scrapped but I do admit that the League has been failing, and failing for some time. The way the League was structured was always a recipe for just failure, in that clubs aren't attached close enough to their communities."
According to Hislop, "We found ourselves, in the one sense, in an enviable position of having any number of stadia that we can use and utilized, but on the other side, it proved more of a burden because in an effort to utilize the stadia, we took the teams away from their communities, and the players on the field didn't have a fan-base to call their own family."
He told the media that as an ex-player and broadcaster he is well aware of the importance of having the fan support for reasons of commercial and media backings.
Only recently UEFA officials proposed an injection of US$1 million to sort out the issues of the embattled T&T Pro league which has been financial life-support from government, through the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, and the Sports Company of T&T.
The proposal also included a recommendation for clubs to grow and live up to the responsibilities of becoming self-sustainable.
The 2019 season is set to kick off at a date to be determined in April, but organisers are still unsure of the composition of teams for the League, as some four clubs were set to be suspended for its inability to pay the registration fees for 2018 and this year, which amount to $260, 000.
Hislop said while he embraces the idea of clubs accepting responsibilities for the growth of the League, he believes this will be a challenge until they are equipped to do so. "You have to allow these clubs to serve in their communities. You have to empower these clubs to be able to make certain decisions which are sometimes unpopular, in moving their own product forward."