A whopping $2.3 million have been put out on the Ascension Football League, to ensure football in T&T gets back on track, courtesy an unknown United States clothing company that is desirous of entering the Caribbean market.
The League is set to kick off on Friday with two matches, one at the Arima Velodrome between home team FC Santa Rosa and Queen's Park CC from 8 pm, and another at the Guayaguayare Recreation Ground between Guaya United and Police FC from 6 pm.
At a launch at Galery 1 of the Hotel Normandie in St Ann's yesterday, chief organiser Richard Piper said Ascension's input has been grand, and it ranges from prize monies to payments for promotion and television coverage, to insurance for players, and payment of all officials.
As reported in the Guardian yesterday, the League will be played in two divisions, each comprising 12 teams. Division I will feature Guaya United, Police FC, FC Santa Rosa, Queen's Park, Terminix La Horquetta Rangers, San Juan Jabloteh, Morvant Caledonia United, Prison Service FC, Matura Re-United, Club Sando, Cunupia FC and Defence Force, all battling for a winner's cheque of $250,000, as well as $125,000 and $75,000 for second and third, respectively.
Division II comprises Harlem Strikers, UTT, Moruga FC, Police FC, Petit Valley/Diego Martin United, Marabella Family Crisis Centre, RSSR FC, Bethel United, Club Sando Uprising Youths, San Fernando Giants, Erin FC and Deportivo PF, is a combined team from the Point Fortin football competition held earlier this year. They will be competing for $100,000, $65,000 and $35,000 as the top three prizes.
Harford said as organisers they have taken out an insurance policy which will cover players for injuries and death in the sum of $5,000 (injury) and $10,000 (death) to go to next of kin. The policy will also cover team officials.
He also lashed out at North East Stars Business Development Director Michael Awai for claims there is no security for players, saying it is standard procedure in football that the home team is responsible for security.
The league is set to be a one-round competition but could go for two rounds if monies promised to clubs by the government for the coming T-League later this year, does not come.
"The Ascension League has its birth through this desperate need as you are aware, the promised funding from the government has not yet materialised to afford the start of the TT Pro League season, and the expected funds from the FIFA, has also not yet materialised, so we have reached out to the Ascension people and they have accepted," Harford said.
Richard Piper, the tournament director said, "The tournament will mirror the operations of the T-League when it gets started. As part of the sanction of the TTFA we had to have an indemnity clause that says they are not going to be responsible for anything pertaining to this tournament, and we gave them the assurance that this will not happen."
According to Piper, another innovative aspect of the tournament is that there is no registration fee. Teams will also receive appearance fees of $2,000 for Division I and $1,000 for Division II for each match, and Flow will provide television coverage of matches which will be aired as a package on any given day in the week.
Meanwhile, Terminix La Horquetta Rangers, which has spent in excess of $5 million to upgrade its facility at Phase Two La Horquetta, has requested that its matches played there.
$2.3m for football tournament.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).
BOOTS of local footballers will no longer be collecting dust as $2.3 million will be pumped into the Ascension Invitational Tournament that will kick off tomorrow featuring 24 teams.
Pro League and Super League teams will be involved in the league with 12 teams playing in division one along with the same number of teams in division two. The announcement was made at The Hotel Normandie in St Ann’s, yesterday. No football has been held locally since December 2018.
Ascension is a group of business people using the league as a test for a new line of sporting apparel, which will be introduced to T&T and the Caribbean later this year.
The tournament will be played in a round robin format from tomorrow until September 21.
Two matches will be held tomorrow in division one with Guaya Utd playing Police FC, at Guaya Recreation Ground, from 4 pm and FC Santa Rosa FC battling QPCC, at Arima Velodrome, from 8 pm.
The division one winners will walk away with $250,000, second place will get $125,000 and the third place finishers will cop $75,000. In division two, the champions will be $100,000 richer, the runner up will earn $65,000 and the third place finishers will get $35,000. An appearance fee of $2,000 would be given to each team for each game that they play in division one and $1,000 in division two.
The teams competing in division one will be Guaya United FC, Police FC, FC Santa Rosa, QPCC, Terminix La Horquetta Rangers FC, San Juan Jabloteh, Caledonia AIA, Prison Service FC, Matura Reunited FC, Club Sando FC, Cunupia FC and Defence Force FC.
Lining up in division two will be Deportivo PF, Harlem Strikers, UTT, Moruga FC, Police FC, Petit Valley/Diego Martin Utd, Marabella Family Crisis Centre, RSSR FC, Bethel Utd, Club Sando Uprising Youths, San Fernando Giants and Erin FC.
W Connection, Central FC and North East Stars are the notable clubs that are not competing in the league.
A 30-minute television programme will be produced which delivers highlights of the tournament every week that will be aired on Flow and as such the tournament would be used to expose T&T football internationally.
The tournament director is Richard Piper and marketing director of All Sports Promotions Anthony Harford, said his company has helped with registration and other administrative matters in the league.
The tournament is sanctioned by the TT Football Association.
Ascension Invitational Tournament
Division One - Round One fixtures
(Fri 12 Jul)
Guaya Utd v Police FC, 6pm, Guaya Recreation Ground;
FC Santa Rosa v QPCC, 8pm, Arima Velodrome;
(Sat 13 Jul)
Morvant Caledonia Utd v Prison Services, 6pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium training ground;
Matura Re-United v Club Sando, 4pm, Matura Recreation Ground;
(Sun 14 Jul)
Cunupia FC v Defence Force FC, 3.30pm, Larry Gomes Stadium.
Wired868TV: Play Ascension football tournament
SPORT: Ascension Football League Kicks Off On Friday