IT MAY be tough times ahead for local football, as clubs within the TT Pro League struggle to deal with the economic state of affairs in the country.
Coach of San Juan Jabloteh, Keith Jeffrey, suggested the players in the Pro League may have to seek additional means of income.
According to Jeffrey,
“Without money, it’s very difficult to run the Pro League. The clubs, for the past few years, are having a financial situation, not only with sponsors but also with SPoRTT (Sports Company of TT). It has become very difficult.”
Pro League champions North East Stars have decided to use a wage structure for their players, with a maximum monthly salary of $3,000.
“When you look at what’s going on at North East, the owners know what’s their financial situation,” said Jeffrey.
“They don’t want to be running a club and, down the road, they have a lot of debts and would have to close.
“Players have to understand the financial situation of the country. The money would never be like before.
It might sound harsh but it’s either they’re part-footballer and part-job, like a semi-pro.
At the moment, it’s very difficult to go back to where it was, until the financial situation in the country changes and the mindset of sponsors and companies change also.”
Jeffrey admitted that Jabloteh, as well as the community-based clubs in the country, are battling the same financial woes.
“We would soon make a decision how we go about doing business for the 2018 season,” he stated.
“When you look at athletics, cricket, football, hockey, all the sporting disciplines are having financial (problems). It’s how we go about doing business going forward would determine how far your club goes.”
Can any player nowadays live on $3,000 monthly wage? Jeffrey replied, “Maybe if you’re taking care of yourself, you can work accordingly but, if you have a family, $3,000 can’t take care of (any) family. I feel for the players. I don’t think anybody who owns a club really want to give a player $3,000. I think, at the end of the day, while a player may be upset that North East come with that wage structure, it was only due to the financial situation of the club.”
About the mindset of players who will have to encounter pay cuts, Jeffrey acknowledged, “At Jabloteh, I had the foresight of the financial situation in the country and I always explained to my players to always have something on the side so, when the rainy days come, they wouldn’t be going through a lot of things. They have families and they’ll have to take care of them.
“It’s all about a young player looking at options outside of football.
There are a lot of things we as owners, coaches and technical staff would have liked to do because we don’t want to make a player live on $3,000 a month. When you don’t have Government help, you don’t have (corporate T&T) help, it’s very difficult. We’re at that stage in the professional discipline (where) we have to be innovative and plan ahead as sportsmen.”