Corporate T&T and the government will be called upon and lend a helping hand towards the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago with funding in 2021 and beyond.
Brent Sancho, Acting Chairman of the T&T Pro League said the time is now to jumpstart T&T football, which includes facilitating an avenue by which young footballers, officials, vendors and administrators, among other professionals, can earn a living, while all the country's national teams, from junior to senior levels, will be adequately supplied, he told Guardain Media Limited on Thursday.
The former national defender now turns sports administrator dismissed claims that corporate T&T and government have been reluctant to pump money into football because of the perceived 'bacchanal in the sport', saying there is bacchanal in sports all over the world, yet corporate citizens inject funds to support.
He said: "It is time for everyone to put the country first and out young people first and better yet out sportsmen and sportswomen. You always hear the phrase there is too much bacchanal in football but guess what everything has bacchanal. It's time for corporate T&T to get involved and start being the co-pilot in the new narrative."
The former Minister of Sports said: "This is not a time for government or corporate T&T to take a stand-off approach concerning funding sports to ensure our young sportsmen and women have a future in something they like outside of the traditional academic side of life. It is a time for all hands to be on deck as we figure out how we move the sport of football and other sports, forward. We have reached a defining moment for 2021."
Only last week global communications network Digicel signed a partnership deal with the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) to the tune of US$1.4 million, which is the equivalent of 200 million Jamaican dollars. Sancho, in an immediate response to this, said it is an indication that corporate T&T do not support sports the way corporate Jamaica does which is sad.
The T&T Pro League navigated a much-needed restructuring in 2019, before the passage of the COVID19 pandemic coupled with a feud between the T&T Football Association and the FIFA, sunk football to its lowest in many years.
Sancho believes the solution to the T&T Pro League will come from a change in the existing structure, where only club owners make up the panel of decision-makers at the Board level.
"Too many clubs are getting involved in the decision-making or administrative level, and you cannot blame them for wanting to do so because clubs in T&T put out a lot of money. Somehow, however, we need to create a system where there is some level of independence. For instance, as acting chairman of the League, I think the League needs an independent chairman urgently, because at this level we need the right people, with the right skill-sets and right abilities to take the sport to a position where it can be sustainable, as well as where it can be comparable with the international standard."
The Board of Directors of the T&T Pro League meets regularly, and it will meet again on Saturday to decide whether a change in the formats of the top flights T&T Pro League and Super League, to a more National League Structure, as recommended by the team of UEFA/FIFA and CONCACAF officials in 2019, should be signed-off on or not.