The second tier of the T&T Pro League has been approved by the T&T Football Association's five-man National Football Committee during its meeting on Friday, August 30 at the Home of Football at Balmain, Couva.
The Committee also discussed the request for the ongoing Ascension Invitational Football League to be extended into a second round, however, the Committee decided against approving the request.
The National Football Committee, which was appointed by the TTFA's Board of Directors on August 28 with wide-ranging powers to review the structure, administration, management and operation of all football in T&T, comprised of TTFA Directors, Selby Browne, Julia Baptiste, Colin Partap and Anthony Moore.
According to a news release from the Committee on Tuesday, the members reviewed matters referred to the Committee by the TTFA after the members elected Browne as chairman and Moore as secretary.
The release stated, "With respect to the matter of the permission granted by the TTFA Board of Directors to its member club Terminix La Horquetta Rangers FC to operate a pre-season Invitational Tournament, and the fact that no request was received from the member club to operate a second round of the tournament, the Committee noted that a condition of the original permission granted by the TTFA to Terminix La Horquetta Rangers was that the tournament will come to an end should Association Football commence. The Committee also noted the fact that the Terminix La Horquetta Rangers FC was included in the request of the TT Pro League Clubs to begin the TT Pro League 2019 season on October 4th, 2019."
The Committee added that "Because the member club had also agreed to participate in the restart of the TT Pro League competition on October 4th, then no extension of the Ascension Invitational Tournament was recommended."
When asked who requested the extension of the second round of the league Browne said, "The request to the TTFA for a second round was made by the Ascension League Tournament Committee."
Concerning the Pro League approval for a second-tier division, the release stated, "The National Football Committee reviewed the proposal from the TT Pro League Limited for the establishment and operation of a two-tier league beginning on October 4th, 2019. The Committee, reviewed the several structures and resources of the TT Pro League stated in its proposal and developed over some two decades and after consideration, gave the favourable recommendation of approval for the request of the TT Pro League to begin on October 4th, 2019."
The release also pointed out that, "Committee Chairman, Selby Browne sought and received confirmation from the Chairman of the SPORTT Company, Mr. Douglas Camacho, the fact that the Sport Company had in its account the funds approved by the Government of T&T for the TT Pro League Clubs participating in the 2019 League, and awaited the completion of requirements of certain clubs for disbursement."
When Guardian Media Sports inquired about the FIFA Forward money Browne said, "The TTFA has not yet received the FIFA Forward money."
The release stated, "The Committee also reviewed the conditions for which the FIFA Forward funding would be used to strengthen the Elite Two-tier football in T&T to strengthen Professional football and to build a pathway for all football clubs to reach to the Elite level of football in T&T. The FIFA funded pathway to the TTFA will include all TTFA Member clubs with particular reference to the TTFA Member Associations Zones.
The release noted that "In light of the facts outlined, the Committee confirmed its recommendation that the TT Pro League begin its 2019 season on October 4th, 2019."
Chairman Browne also outlined plans to consult with all football stakeholders, investors, TTFA member clubs, regional associations, administrators, footballers, coaches, technical service providers, football venue owners, on the establishment of a defined structure and pathway for the organizational restructuring of national football in T&T from the community level to the professional club.