Government continued support for TT Pro League

The establishment of the Pro League in March 2002, was consequent on the collapse of professional football administered by the former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation. The then professional clubs took a strategic decision to establish a private limited liability company, called Pro League Limited. With community-based clubs as shareholders to the company, the mission of the League was to promote profession of football as a viable option to young people pursuing careers in professional football, and to assist in creating opportunities that would allow participants to transition easily into the wider working environment.

During the period 2002 to 2004, the TT Pro League, which is the franchise of Pro League Limited, sustained its operations through financing from club owners and limited corporate sponsorships. The financial model of the League identified self- sufficiency due to anticipated spectator participation and large corporate sponsorship.

In an effort to promote professional football while at the same time assist in building technical capacity in the discipline of football, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs took a decision to the provide financial support to the professional and semi-professional football leagues in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of four (4) years, commencing in 2005, with the sum of $3-Mn. and reducing thereafter at the rate of 25% per annum. In 2012 and 2014, Government made similar decisions regarding the reduction of the State’s subvention to the TT Pro League Limited as the League attains stronger financial footing through increased corporate financing and other funding mechanisms. All this was done in an effort to assist the League in accomplishing self-sufficiency as originally intended.

During the period 2005 to 2017, Government’s support through the Ministry and the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT), totaled seventy-six million, three hundred and forty one thousand, eight hundred and seventy five dollars. ($76,341,875.00).  Government’s support to the League was always based on the submission of audited financial statements by the League, in keeping with financial policies of both the MSYA and SPORTT.

On April 26, 2018, Cabinet approved the sum of TT$11.1 million toward the TT Pro League to assist eight (8) clubs registered in the league for a three (3) year period commencing in fiscal 2018 with the sum of $600,000 per club, and reducing thereafter at the rate of 25% per annum detailed as follows:

Year 1 - $600,000 per club = $4,800,000 for 8 clubs

Year 2 - $450,000 per club= $3,600,000 for 8 clubs

Year 3 - $337,500 per club =$2,700,000 for 8 clubs

The eight (8) Clubs include Sando FC, Central FC, W Connection FC, Point Fortin FC, North East Stars, San Juan Jabloteh SC, Morvant/ Caledonia FC and St. Ann’s Rangers.

 Subsequent to this, the Minister, Permanent Secretary and other Ministry and SporTT personnel met with the TT Pro League Executive and Club Managers on May 7, 2018. It was explained to all present that payment to the clubs would be subject to the submission of the up to date Audited Financials of the clubs. In addition, it was further explained that as a condition for the future consideration of financial assistance, the League will be required to submit, in addition to Audited Financial Statements, a Strategic and Business Plan as well as the Annual Report of its operations. On June 7, 2018, the SporTT wrote to all eight (8) Pro League clubs requesting the submission of these documents. The table below shows the Clubs contacted and the dates that the relevant requests were received by SporTT:

 

Pro-League Club

Date response was  received

Sando FC

July 12, 2018

St. Anns Rangers

July 12, 2018

Central FC

July 16, 2018

Caledonia AIA

July 20, 2018

North East Stars

July 21, 2018

San Juan Jabloteh

July 23, 2018

 

W Connection FC indicated that their auditor was out of the country and SPORTT should receive their audited financial statements by August 3, 2018. Point Fortin FC is yet to submit a response.

The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs remains resolute in its pledge to support the Pro League, and is mindful that the 2018 season is scheduled to begin shortly. Disbursements would be made ONLY to the Clubs that have complied with the Ministry’s and SPORTT’s funding requirements.

The Ministry reminds all sporting bodies that it is in their best interest to comply with the Ministry’s guidelines as it relates to eligibility for accessing government funding.  Such compliance is important for the maintenance of the transparency, accountability and integrity of sport as an industry, and helps to build the investor confidence as we strive to expand our network and attract corporate sponsorship.

The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs remains steadfast in its commitment to working diligently with all stakeholders as we partner to build are more harmonious ecosystem, a more robust and effective industry, and an environment more conducive to the success of our athletes and the advancement of our country.

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