Government commits $9M to new Trinidad and Tobago football league
THE wait is finally over for local footballers as the TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) will kick off on March 10 for tier-one teams. The Government is backing the league as the Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe confirmed that $3 million per year will be distributed for the first three years.
Local football has been at a standstill since the start of the covid19 pandemic in March 2020 with the exception of the Ascension Football League. The launch of the TTPFL was held at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on Monday.
The league has been 18 months in the making and the league for 12 tier-one teams will begin on March 10 and end in May. The teams are La Horquetta Rangers, Club Sando, Police, W Connection Couva, Pt Fortin Civic FC, AC Port of Spain, Central FC, San Juan Jabloteh, Caledonia AIA, Prisons FC, Cunupia FC and Defence Force.
The league for tier two teams will start at the end of April, but it is uncertain how many teams will compete.
COO of the TTPFL Colin Wharfe said there will be no promotion and relegation in the first season as it will only be played over two months. In June, a knock-out competition will be held featuring teams in both tier one and tier two. The second season of the league will run from September/October 2023 to May 2024.
“We at Government are asking to support to the tune of $3 million per year for three years in the first instance,” Cudjoe said.
Cudjoe urged the football clubs to be transparent in their operations. “In this day and age especially with the experience you have in football, you should be able to conduct yourself in such a way to attract private sector funding. That is important.”
Cudjoe said FIFA is supporting the TTPFL saying the world governing body is giving between US $300,000 and $400,000 per year to the TTPFL. The Sport Minister said to ensure the league is being run properly a review will be held at the end of each year.
Cudjoe urged the stakeholders to run the league with the future in mind. “We hope that we would grow stronger, closer and united. Not for me, not for Mr (Robert) Hadad (Normalisation Committee chairman) not for chairman (of the Sport Company of TT) Douglas Camacho, but for these youngsters who depend on us for their growth and that is where the investment should be.”
Cudjoe said this is a new beginning for football, saying let’s “restore it to its former glory.”
Hadad agreed with Cudjoe that the clubs must run their clubs honestly. Hadad was hired by FIFA to run the Normalisation Committee mainly to reduce the massive debt facing the TT Football Association. Hadad ensured everyone he is trying his best to reduce the debt and pay off all creditors.
Hadad said, “We are listening to you (Cudjoe) and we are trying our very best to reshape the TT Football Association with the guidance of your good self and your ministry and your sport company together with FIFA and CONCACAF.
“I want to openly thank FIFA for all their work,” Hadad said.
"Government commits $9M to new Trinidad and Tobago football league"