Chief Executive Office (CEO) Dexter Skeene has said that the Trinidad and Tobago professional football league (TT Pro League) will ride out difficult times and that they are in talks with corporate stakeholders and the Government to ensure its survival.
“Predictions and rumours of the demise of the TT Pro league are indeed premature. The League is having ongoing discussions with proposed sponsors, the Sport Company (SPORtt) and the Ministry of Sport, and is assured of the support of the Minister, the Chairman and board of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago,” Skeene said.
“The TT Pro League continues to strive to become self-sufficient. The League has survived difficult times before and will survive these rough times,” he continued. “The TT Pro League will overcome. We will prevail,” Skeene reiterated.
Skeene was responding to comments yesterday by former Sport Minister Brent Sancho, who is also managing director of three-time Pro League champions Central FC. Sancho is predicting a crash in the Pro League unless Government continues its subvention, which assists both the fledging league and clubs.
Yesterday, Sancho said: “It has been a challenge in the Pro League this year. It is well documented.” Sancho pointed to the financial climate which has resulted in the pull-out of major sponsors, Digicel. “Now we are seeing decrease support from corporate and Government sector which is a genuine concern,”
Sancho added. He called the Pro League the production line for the national football team and said it would set T&T back decades if the game should revert to amateur status because of lack of funding. “I think that will be devastating, detrimental and the death of football in this country,” said Sancho.
Meanwhile, Skeene espoused that football, as the number one participation sport, touches all classes, creeds, races, communities and villages. He is adamant pro football will survive.
“This current period that is as rough and tough as they come from an economic perspective. It is a test of the League’s resilience, commitment and dedication to its vision and mission of becoming a sustainable and viable football industry, one that provides legitimate careers for young persons with football talent,” Skeene said.
“Given our individual and collective commitment to the League and an understanding of the broader economic challenges and difficulties, we realise that the tests facing the League are no different to those of the business community,” Skeene conceded. “This is a time for the League to stay focused and positive and continue to work together.”
He added: “I believe we will rise to overcome this temporary situation and we will emerge from these tremendously trying circumstances to become a vibrant, successful football League that is not dependent on the government for its finances and revenue.”