President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, Azim Bassarath, is encouraging the Government and sponsors to support the development of cricket in TT as a lack of support may force the local cricket board to change its operations.
It was recently announced that long-time sponsor of local cricket, NGC, will no longer support local cricket because of financial constraints. Bassarath said this is an opportunity for other companies to come on board.
“They (NGC) have cited because of the low price of gas they are not making the money they used to make, so they held back on their sponsorship, but there are other entities that can come on board and support the cricket,” Bassarath said.
The TTCB boss also called on the Government to support the game as it is not that expensive.
“If the Government is serious about producing top class sportsmen, the Government of the day supposed to be funding these organisations.
To run the cricket in Trinidad and Tobago is only about 12 to 14 million dollars a year – and that includes all our development programmes.”
Bassarath said the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT) has not been providing much money to the TTCB for programmes and the paying of TTCB staff recently. The TTCB president said SporTT has been giving less to local cricket as this year, the TTCB received $200,000 compared to between $600,000 and $700,000 previously.
Due to financial constraints, Bassarath said the TTCB is now forced to look at the running of the organisation to operate more cost efficiently. He denied rumours, however, that staff might be trimmed.
“We are looking at our whole operations,” he said.
Bassarath said he is concerned going forward with the economic situation facing TT.
“It is a serious threat and challenge for any sporting organisation, when you don’t have any development programmes, and if we don’t have that, the sport would be at a disadvantage for further development.”
Bassarath said the TTCB has set an example of how to run development programmes in the Caribbean and other territories regularly seek advice from the local board.
He said sport brings a nation together and more should be done to assist.
“When there is a major sporting event in this country, the country is at a standstill because everybody wants to see and wants to be involved,” he said.