Professional football is here to stay, players and coaches must remain paid professionals and the T&T Pro League is totally committed to this reality.
This is the view of Morvant Caledonia AIA owner Jamaal Shabazz yesterday in a direct response to comments made by Super League chairman Keith Lookloy in a direct fallout since the Pro League’s decision to go ahead with its league instead of ensuring the T-League was launched this season.
“The owners have demonstrated a commitment to the nation’s youth and people like Jerry Hospedales, Darryl Mahabir (former North East Stars owner) and the deceased Richard Fakoory stand out for such a contribution,” Shabazz said in a release in defence of the Pro League’s decision to run their own league until the UEFA/FIFA-proposed T-League gets off the ground.
“Mr Look Loy did not consult the T&T Pro league when he decided to ask for the Ascension League to be extended by another round. He has not told the public that the Super League intended to run a one-round league if the extension of the Ascension League was not granted. So why must the Pro League consult Look Loy when it comes to running our competition?”
Shabazz accused Look Loy of trying to paint the Pro League in a negative light, insisting the league had not left the commission which set up to steer football forward to the T-League.
“The league remains a member of the commission but just like the Super League feels that football needs to play, we in the Pro League are going to walk that talk and play our League,” Shabazz said.
“We have injected over 25 million dollars into the national economy and provided employment for over 200 players and coaches. We see it as our right to continue to create an environment where coaches and players can remain full-time professionals.”
Speaking on the role of the Pro League in T&T football, Shabazz cleared the air. “We are not the TTFA, our role is to focus on professional football. It is through the Pro League we contribute to the national football development.
“In years gone by we fed the national teams with players and coaches. Mr Look Loy does not believe in a Pro League and he has used social media to spew his venom against us. So we are very well aware of the person we’re dealing with here. He wants to curse us on social media in the night and pretend to be all lovey-dovey in the day.” Shabazz insisted that the Super League chairman got his wires crossed.
“Pro League clubs have a responsibility to its players, sponsors and supporters who have remained loyal to the concept of professional football. Mr Look Loy’s views on football are not divine revelation. His opinion is a nose. And the Pro League has its own nostrils and we are entitled to breathe,” he said. “Mr Look Loy is getting his wires crossed, the establishment of professional football and who wins the TTFA presidency are two separate issues.
“We in the T&T Pro league have always sought to keep the issues separate. The same cannot be said for Mr Look Loy.”
According to Shabazz, the decision made by the Pro League was done with each of the ten clubs giving their views.
“This was no unilateral decision, all ten clubs agreed. And one of our members, Eddie Dean (Club Sando), is on the Super League board and they, Club Sando, agreed as well. Pro League clubs have no ulterior motive, our decision is based purely on protecting our investment.”