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Saturday 26 May 2018
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Pro League may consider community grounds in 2018

CEO of the TT Pro League Julia Baptiste.

THE TT Pro League may consider using community grounds in 2018, a move they tried, with mixed results, during the 2017 season.

Among the grounds used were Barataria Oval and the Morvant Recreation Ground.

Julia Baptiste, CEO of the TT Pro League, said in a recent interview, “The community grounds would be our first option. However, at this point, some of them are not able to facilitate the football at the level we play.”

The Pro League Board of Directors held a meeting with Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Shamfa Cudjoe, at the Ministry’s St Clair office last week.

Baptiste, who replaced Dexter Skeene as the League’s CEO in April, noted, “We had a discussion on that. Clubs would start looking at the community grounds and coming up with a system that would allow for us to start playing within the communities.

“We would be looking at a relationship with the (Regional) Corporations to try and start building that community system that we want in place,” she added.

“As it stands, we will play where is available to us at present with the view to be playing within the communities as the season progresses.”

Baptiste also revealed, “We have the same 10 teams participating in the 2018 season. We’re on course to start on June 1 with the Charity Shield.”

The Charity Shield is carded to take place at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva featuring league champs North East Stars and First Citizens Cup title-holders W Connection.

The other participating teams this year will be Central FC, Police, Defence Force, St Ann’s Rangers, San Juan Jabloteh, Club Sando, Point Fortin Civic and Morvant Caledonia United.

The Sports Ministry has promised an injection of $11 million towards the upkeep of the clubs (excluding Police and Defence Force). But there is yet to be any news regarding sponsors for the 2018 season.

“For us, it would be important for now to continue to seek sponsorship for the League,” said Baptiste. “We will have to go hard at doing that.”

Baptiste, who served as the League secretary for over a decade, pointed out, “We will continue to work at building our portfolio in terms of corporate (bodies). See who we could get on board, sponsorship-wise, and it’s our job to ensure that the league is running. We have some decisions that will have to be taken with regards to that, but everything will be worked out.”

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