One of local sports most famous names –Queens Park Cricket Club will challenge Defence Force for the TT Pro League title when the 2011/2012 season gets underway on August 19th.
TT Pro League Chief Executive Officer Dexter Skeene said the official fixtures will be released on August 1st as South End FC has until 31 July to satisfy the league that the club can meet its financial obligations.
Mau Pau, however, will be missing from the fixture list as the club has asked for a sabbatical, an approach that paid dividends for North East Stars a few seasons ago.
In other Digicel Pro League news, St Ann’s Rangers owner Richard Fakoory, confirmed at a recent Board of Director’s meeting, that he has formed a partnership with Queens Park Cricket Club and as a result his club St Anns Rangers will now campaign as Queens Park FC.
Ranger’s partnership with Queens Park echoes a similar situation some years ago when Caledonia AIA formed a relationship with Fire Services and adopted the name Arima Morvant Fire.
Skeene is not bothered by the Board room developments as he remains confident that the Digicel TT Pro League is at a very exciting and critical stage of its life cycle.
“ I have shared with the Board my strong view that any club, group or individuals desirous of owning a team in the league must comply with a rigorous financial ‘fit and proper test” as professional football in T&T is at a mature stage of the lifecycle graph and club owners must be able to make the required financial investments .”
Skeene is adamant that recent developments are a sign of progress rather than weakness.
“Professional sport is a business and an industry. All over the world professional football clubs run into financial problems and as a result, fall out of the top tier. The Digicel TT Pro League is well positioned for growth and will prove an attractive proposition for club owners who can strike the balance between a passion for football and financial, business acumen and prudence.
Shifting the focus back on the field Skeene predicts a keen tussle for top honours.
“I expect that coaches and players will continue to improve and raise the standard of play in the Pro League. Those who have the self-discipline and attitude will thrive. Amateurs masquerading as professionals will fall by the way side. Our footballers and coaches cannot take things for granted.
Skeene said that the TT Pro League staff and board of directors are focused on the big picture and that is making the league one of the best in the Concacaf region.
“We are excited by the change to the European season—August - May. The league will be stronger more viable and dynamic. There are challenges but this period is a necessary and essential moment in time for professional football as stakeholders finally come to grasp with the realities and demands of professional football. We are building an industry. Rome wasn’t built in a day,” ended Skeene.