JOSEPH SAM Phillip, former manager of the Trinidad and Tobago 2006 FIFA World Cup football team, dubbed “the Soca Warriors”, has stepped from his role as chairman of the TT Pro League.
This is the second major resignation from the administrative arm of the embattled League, since Dexter Skeene announced his decision, last Friday, to move on from the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on April 1.
The League has been dealing with serious financial pitfalls with Government subventions to the eight community teams as well as its administrative body being curtailed, while 2017 title-holders North East Stars have implemented a wage structure for players, who will receive a maximum monthly salary of $3,000.
Phillip, in his letter of resignation addressed to Skeene, TT Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams and TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George, indicated his decision to move on from his Pro League role, as well as chairman of the TTFA technical committee and a TTFA board member “with immediate effect”.
Phillip wrote, “This has become unavoidably necessary due to my added responsibilities attached to the office which I presently hold, thereby limiting my availability to honour my commitment in the organisation.
“It is only prudent therefore, given my new constraints and my desire to ensure that the organisation continues on the path of success, I reluctantly take this step,” continued Phillip, the former national team striker and general manager of the defunct Joe Public FC.
When contacted for a comment yesterday, Phillip declined to state his new career path, but he pointed out that, after 57 years of service to TT football, both on and off the field, he is looking to commit more time to his family.
However, he expressed mixed feelings towards the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT).
Phillip admitted, “We had a meeting (on Thursday) with the Sports Company. A request (was) made last year for a note to go to Cabinet, to the Minister of Sport, for the subventions to continue, so we can get some training fields in the community, for two to three years and, after that, we can float on our own.
“Coming out of that meeting, I was shocked to know that that note has not been taken to Cabinet,” he continued. “I’m fully aware of our financial constraints in the country but, if you look around, you’ll see other sports getting sums. I’m not jealous of them but I think we all could get a little leeway.”
On the flip side, Phillip said, “I’m eternally grateful to the Sports Company for the support they have given to the Pro League, and football in general.”
There has been talk about the need for the Pro League to reinvent itself in order to survive in these trying times, and it is a view shared by Phillip.
“The Pro League would have to do some remodelling,” he noted. “What I can assure you is that the Pro League would continue because the owners of the clubs, who are the directors of the Pro League, have committed themselves to football and communities.”
The letter ended, “I also take the opportunity to extend my best wishes to you and the organisation for its future success and do ensure you my full support.”