Several major sporting associations and local prominent athletes have voiced concerns that financial assistance previously offered by the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT) to their respective federations, have been withdrawn until the next financial cycle which begins in October.
When contacted by the Guardian yesterday, a source within the country’s top football league described the developments as “the Sport Company’s major financial bankruptcy” claiming that many clubs of major sporting disciplines, and their respective federations have been seriously affected by the financial drawbacks.
The source also said that many summer football camps in which SporTT has financed in past years have been suddenly cancelled. The T&T Pro League clubs which benefits from SporTT’s assistance with wage stipend for players includes W Connection, North East Stars, San Juan Jabloteh, Caledonia AIA and St Anns Rangers.
The National Super League has been similarly affected by the “exhaustion of funds” as described by SporTT in a letter to the heads of the T&T Pro League and the National Super League. Richard Piper, National Super League Tournament Co-ordinator said that the league has been “drastically affected”.
According to Piper, SporTT has been unable to assist with expenses for the past two months and the league would have been unable to move on without the assistance of sponsors All Sport. “SporTT has not helped with the stipend for referees and were unable to assist in transport for the clubs travelling to and from Tobago,” said Piper.
Association of T&T (ASATT), there are claims that a meeting with the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and SporTT and ASATT was called so that matters within the sports and funding can be discussed. At the meeting, the association was advised to cancel their upcoming Goodwill Swim Meet, an prominent annual swim meet which was scheduled to take place between August 12-14 at the Centre of Excellence Macoya, due to a lack of available funds.
The release acknowledges that the meet may be in crisis, as the association requires funding which was previously promised by SporTT.
Neal Marcano, chairman of the Local Goodwill Organising Committee expressed disappointment at the sudden turn of events, saying that he and his committee may require funding from external sources, to avoid the embarrassment.
“It is very unfortunate that the Government is unable to assist in funding this very important meet. We do hope to get the assistance of corporate T&T to host the event.” Jason Wickham, Public Relations Officer of the ASATT insisted that every effort will be made to allow the meet to continue.
“While it has been suggested that the meet be cancelled, our Association knows the importance of this development meet. Cancellation is an option but an absolute last resort,” said Wickham.