Sun, Sep


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."