"It's either we can afford to be a professional football league or we can't," said Sam Phillip, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the T&T Pro League when contacted yesterday.
"But the idea of professional players being asked to work will definitely be a no, no as it will set a dangerous precedence in the game," said Phillip. He added in response to suggestions by St Ann's Rangers owner and founder Richard Fakoory that T&T Pro League players should seek employment outside of being professional players to suppliment their income from football.
In the T&T Guardian yesterday, Fakoory who is also vice president of the T&T Pro League made the comment in response to North East Stars' new business model which enables it to pay all players a basic salary of $2,500 to $3,000 monthly and develop them holistically through a comprehensive academy for sale to international clubs. The Sangre Grande based-team has also implemented a cap of $5,000.
North East Stars new monthly wage structure has also recieved supports from Brent Sancho, the owner of Central FC, the former three-time champion club. But yesterday, Phillip said to ask a professional players to seek jobs is senseless and opens up the league to debate on its status as a pro league. "It can lead to it now being see as a Semi Pro League that will find itself competing with the T&T Super League which is something they do not want," Phillip explained.
According to Phillip the $2,500- $3,000 wage idea is nothing new, as the League already carries a minimum salary of $2,500 a month. But he revealed that attempts are being made to introduce a salary cap of no more than $5,000, the most that can be paid to a player per month, which is similar to the North East Stars model.
"Of course we cannot tell clubs how much they can pay their players, but if the cap is implemented and clubs that paid players more than what is stipulated, then suddenly they can buckle under financial pressure and we (the league) will not be able to help those players," Phillip explained.
Members of the Board of the T&T Pro League which includes a member from each club along with Dexter Skeene, the Chief Executive Officer and Phillip, are set to meet next month to decide on a way forward.