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Saturday 21 September 2019
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Gillette: T-League rebirth of TT football

Chairman of the new football commission Lindsay Gillette, left, and independent member of the commission Tony Harford at the media launch of the T-League, at the Gillette Group of Companies, Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain, yesterday.
Chairman of the new football commission Lindsay Gillette, left, and independent member of the commission Tony Harford at the media launch of the T-League, at the Gillette Group of Companies, Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain, yesterday.

CHAIRMAN of the new football commission Lindsay Gillette wants the new local football league, which is set to begin in August or September, to be the "rebirth" of TT football.

A tripartite agreement was signed last week between the TT Football Association (TTFA), the TT Pro League and the TT Super League at the Cascadia Hotel in St Ann's.

Among those who attended the agreement were CEO of the Pro League Julia Baptiste, president of the TT Super League Keith Look Loy and TTFA president David John-Williams.

FIFA is supporting the league financially and funds from the Pro League will also be used to finance the league, which may be called the T-League. Details of the funding were not released to the media. Ten teams will feature in tier one and 14 teams in tier two in a three-year project which will run until 2022. The organisers want to start the league between mid August and early September.

Yesterday, at a press conference held at the Gillette Group of Companies around the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Gillette said the local league will follow the same pattern as leagues in Europe with promotion and relegation.

"We hope to play football backed by FIFA and UEFA over the next three years, it is a three-year project and in that we will have both relegation as well as promotion."

In 2019 and 2020, one team will be promoted from tier two to tier one, which will result in a 12-team tier one by 2021.

Gillette was excited that local footballers will get the opportunity to play football consistently, which can be a new dawn.

"What I have been told is that it is a historic moment because we have all agreed to that (arrangement) and we all have one option and one objective (which) is to make football happen once again in this country. So I call it the rebirth of football."

Local footballers have been lacking playing time because the 2018 Pro League was shortened from three to two rounds because some teams were not compliant with their financial records, which caused a delay to the start of the season.

Gillette said the players will be taken care of.

"My concern is that everybody gets paid, that is my concern. Nothing more than: the footballers play and they get what they deserve."

A number of teams were community-based in past years, which made it easier for fans to support their teams. Gillette is hoping to increase the level of community-based football.

"What we realise also is, as you look at football all over the world, a lot of them come from communities or towns like Manchester United or Tottenham. What we are trying to achieve is to have clubs in certain communities, so we could have community following. We could have people supporting them and we are trying to have the events maybe in one or two (other) locations, so it is very specific to where we are going to play that football."

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