The national Under-20 team is one of ten teams that were blanked from participating in this year’s T&T Super League (TTSL) competition.
The team which is coached by former national standout Russell Latapy failed to pay the registration fee of $45,000 as part of the entry requirement.
Keith Look Loy, the TTSL president said on Sunday that it was initially decided to have the team in the league as a guest team, but after its TTSL parent body, the T&T Football Association failed to pay the fee on two occasions, its members decided against having them in the league.
Look Loy said his members also found the team to be an unstable one after it was discovered that staff members had not been paid for six months.
Look Loy believes the league can be at risk of accepting such a team, fearing its members can decide to pull out if they continue to not be paid for their work.
The TTSL boss further explained that upon investigation, the TTSL also discovered that the team had not trained in a long time.
The under the 20 team is one of nine clubs that were refused the opportunity to play football in the TTSL this year, for either being non-compliant or failure to pay the required registration fee.
Guardian Media Sports also learnt that the country’s Under-17 team was also blanked entry into the FLOW Youth Pro League because of a late request.
Yesterday, General Secretary of the TTFA Justin Latapy-George said they came to an agreement with the TTSL for the U-20s to play, but we just could not make the payment.
“That is all I am going to say on that” Latapy-George said. One of the more popular teams that were also blanked is Defence Force, which was deemed compliant, but it did not pay the required $45, 000 for entry.
The others are Siparia Spurs, Central 500, Youth Stars, Marabella Family Crisis, Real Maracas United, Harlem Strikers, WASA and Palo Seco.
At a meeting of the TTSL on Sunday, officials of the Army Coast-Guard Combination team pleaded for a third deadline to pay. Due to the omission of the 10 clubs, this year’s TTSL season has been drawn down to 13 teams in a League One division only, compared to 24 teams in two divisions last year.
Look Loy said there is still a possibility that the composition of the tournament can be increased to 15 teams, after newcomers Erin FC paid half the fee Sunday and gave a promise that the SFA will pay the remaining amount, as part of their prize monies for last season.
The other team 1976 Phoenix assured it has already transferred monies to the account of the TTSL from its sponsors in the United States.
Look Loy said gave the Tobago team a deadline of yesterday to complete payment, while in the case of Erin FC, it will not accept the team into the league if all the funds are not received before the season starts.
According to Look Loy, they are changing the old culture of making deals and taking shortcuts, which has led to the death of the sport in the past. The TTSL’s stance was taken on the basis of a number of solid principles, one of which was the urgent demand for the fixtures by Caribbean Airline to secure travel for the teams on Sunday.
Look Loy, a former coach at FC Santa Rosa said: “We are treating our League as a commercial enterprise and those who don’t want to treat it as such will have to step aside. At some point in time, we have to get serious.”
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