ONE CONCACAF and Caribbean projects senior manager, Howard McIntosh, believes the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League can become sustainable and viable throughout, but with the right governance structure of course.
The T&T Pro League, he says, is one of the better leagues in CONCACAF, being one of only four leagues (Haiti, Dominican Republic and Jamaica the others) in the Caribbean that participates in the newly restructured Caribbean Club Championship for CONCACAF compliant clubs.
“So CONCACAF is fully supportive of Trinidad and Tobago and the Pro League that exists in Trinidad and Tobago because we want that league to do well along with other leagues to ensure that we (CONCACAF) are doing well,” McIntosh said following a three-day United European Football Associations (UEFA) ASSIST follow-up workshop for the T&T Pro League entitled: Road to Strategic Planning. The program is an initiative by UEFA aimed at providing practical assistance to other confederations and their member associations in order to develop and strengthen football across the globe,
The UEFA ASSIST workshop took place at the Faculty of Social Sciences Lounge of the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus in St. Augustine, Trinidad with McIntosh sharing his expertise along with Eva Pasquier, head of international relations at UEFA, and her colleagues Kenny MacLeod and Dariusz Marzec.
Short-term goals in the areas of governance, competitions and marketing, in keeping with best practices around the world, were recommended to the Pro League board. Once the objectives are completed, UEFA ASSIST will return to the T&T Pro League a third time to focus on long-term strategic planning.
“Trinidad and Tobago Pro League is quite fortunate in a number of different ways,” McIntosh, or as he is fondly called, Big Mac, elaborated. “Concacaf in partnership with UEFA had to select some countries that they would support, for professional league support, and during the course of this year, three countries -- Suriname, Canada and T&T -- were selected for Pro League support.
“The level of support is from a standpoint of technical support in putting in place a strategic plan and ensuring that the level operational and possibility financial support is given.
He pointed out that the T&T Pro League is very fortunate because the support of the T&T Government is unparalleled. “I think the Government must be applauded. However the (T&T) Pro League now needs to start doing something by itself or for itself, and that means working hard in all the areas to make sure it’s more professional".
“It must be one that also encompasses youth development and that means having youth teams and doing the things to ensure that you develop everything. The elite league in the country, if it is properly structured, will obviously help the national team because that is what you really want to have, great national team players, and so to the extent that you have a successful Pro League then you will have a better chance of having a more successful national team.”