Internacionales

TTFA Blanks Ascension Caribbean Cup tournament

Con­cern­ing the NE­FL, Mo­hammed said the foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion had re­ceived be­tween 10 to 20 in­ter­est­ed teams ap­ply­ing by the dead­line date of Ju­ly 22, but he did not say who the clubs were. He made it clear the tour­na­ment would not be lim­it­ed to 10 teams as is be­ing stat­ed by some club mem­bers.

Ac­cep­tance in­to the top-tier foot­ball tour­na­ment re­quired clubs to sat­is­fy two main ar­eas, name­ly (1) Club Li­cens­ing Re­quire­ments, which will be gov­erned by the guide­lines where the First In­stance Body will re­ceive an ap­pli­ca­tion from clubs and make de­ci­sions on grant­i­ng li­cens­es. And (2) League De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee Re­quire­ments- which will re­view ap­pli­ca­tions based on the do­mes­tic re­quire­ments that are out­lined to par­tic­i­pate in the league.

Should clubs be ap­proved in both ar­eas, they will be as­sured of be­ing se­lect­ed for the league.

The TTFA was yes­ter­day, ex­pect­ed to meet with clubs from the T&T Pro League for con­tin­ued dis­cus­sion on the NE­FL.

WAL­TER AL­IBEY

wal­ter.al­[email protected]

No ap­proval has been giv­en to As­cen­sion Foot­ball League or­gan­is­ers for the pro­posed As­cen­sion Caribbean Cup, which is sched­uled to be­gin in Oc­to­ber.

Ter­minix La Hor­quet­ta Rangers man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Fer­gu­son, in an im­me­di­ate re­sponse yes­ter­day, said he was very dis­ap­point­ed by the de­ci­sion as it will be a ret­ro­grade step for foot­ball in T&T.

Gen­er­al Sec­re­tary of the em­bat­tled foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion Amiel Mo­hammed, in a re­sponse to As­cen­sion’s re­quest on Ju­ly 9 for ap­proval for the Caribbean Cup, on Fri­day last, high­light­ed four rea­sons why ap­proval can­not be giv­en. It in­cludes the stag­ing of the New Elite Foot­ball League (NE­FL) which is tar­get­ed to kick off in Sep­tem­ber for the top two tiers of foot­ball in the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to Mo­hammed, “On 8 Feb­ru­ary 2022, and on an ex­cep­tion­al and one-time ba­sis, the TTFA in good faith ap­proved your As­cen­sion Tour­na­ment of T&T. In that com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it was un­equiv­o­cal­ly in­di­cat­ed that such au­tho­ri­sa­tion was ex­cep­tion­al and on a one-off ba­sis.

“It was al­so un­equiv­o­cal­ly and clear­ly stat­ed that the As­cen­sion Tour­na­ment of T&T would not con­sti­tute a qual­i­fi­ca­tion tour­na­ment for any oth­er na­tion­al or in­ter­na­tion­al tour­na­ment, com­pe­ti­tion, or league, in­clud­ing any type of of­fi­cial or “friend­ly” tour­na­ment or com­pe­ti­tion.”

“As you know, the TTFA is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a new T&T of­fi­cial league struc­ture/ecosys­tem that will pro­vide prop­er and am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ty for the TTFA clubs to par­tic­i­pate and com­pete. It will al­so give TTFA-af­fil­i­at­ed clubs of­fi­cial ac­cess to in­ter­na­tion­al tour­na­ments/com­pe­ti­tions.

You have been ful­ly in­volved and are aware of these plans and dis­cus­sions and we ap­pre­ci­ate your in­ter­est in and sup­port for the new of­fi­cial league struc­ture, which you demon­strat­ed by be­ing one of the first clubs to sub­mit your ap­pli­ca­tion for par­tic­i­pa­tion.

You should al­so note that any such tour­na­ment/com­pe­ti­tion would re­quire sanc­tion­ing from the in­ter­na­tion­al foot­ball bod­ies, and such will not be is­sued in view of the sit­u­a­tion of the TTFA.”

“In view of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of foot­ball in T&T, the TTFA will un­der no cir­cum­stance sanc­tion any tour­na­ment or com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­ised by third par­ties that in­volve clubs/teams af­fil­i­at­ed to oth­er FI­FA Mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tions,” Mo­hammed said in his re­sponse.

Should no pri­vate cit­i­zen be al­lowed to or­gan­ise foot­ball tour­na­ments in T&T it could spell the end of the As­cen­sion Foot­ball League which be­gan in 2019 and has been a pre-cur­sor to foot­ball in the T&T Pro League.

A dis­ap­point­ed Fer­gu­son be­lieves the de­ci­sion to pre­vent pri­vate cit­i­zens from or­gan­is­ing foot­ball in T&T is tan­ta­mount to the ban­ning of the As­cen­sion Foot­ball League. “I be­lieve it’s a back­ward step, it cer­tain­ly is not go­ing to help foot­ball, it is go­ing to hurt it in­stead be­cause what you’re see­ing es­sen­tial­ly is that they don’t want pri­vate peo­ple to be in­volved in foot­ball.”

Fer­gu­son has stood alone when it came to the spon­sor­ship of foot­ball in T&T. For more than three years, there have been at­tempts to form a new foot­ball struc­ture that would mir­ror the big Leagues abroad such as La Liga, the Eng­lish Pre­mier­ship and the Ger­man Bun­desli­ga etc, but de­spite in­volve­ment from the sport’s world gov­ern­ing body- FI­FA, as well as UE­FA and CON­CA­CAF, this new league has failed to ma­te­ri­alise.

The Caribbean Cup is ex­pect­ed to kick off on Oc­to­ber 21 and run for eight days among the top three teams from the just-con­clud­ed As­cen­sion Foot­ball League, and the top teams from Grena­da, Ja­maica and Bar­ba­dos. A bud­get of $2.6 mil­lion has been set aside for the tour­na­ment and it will en­able the win­ning team a cheque for US$20,000, with the sec­ond-placed team get­ting US$10,000 and US$5,000 go­ing to the third-place fin­ish­er.

Con­cern­ing the NE­FL, Mo­hammed said the foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion had re­ceived be­tween 10 to 20 in­ter­est­ed teams ap­ply­ing by the dead­line date of Ju­ly 22, but he did not say who the clubs were. He made it clear the tour­na­ment would not be lim­it­ed to 10 teams as is be­ing stat­ed by some club mem­bers.

Ac­cep­tance in­to the top-tier foot­ball tour­na­ment re­quired clubs to sat­is­fy two main ar­eas, name­ly (1) Club Li­cens­ing Re­quire­ments, which will be gov­erned by the guide­lines where the First In­stance Body will re­ceive an ap­pli­ca­tion from clubs and make de­ci­sions on grant­i­ng li­cens­es. And (2) League De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee Re­quire­ments- which will re­view ap­pli­ca­tions based on the do­mes­tic re­quire­ments that are out­lined to par­tic­i­pate in the league.

Should clubs be ap­proved in both ar­eas, they will be as­sured of be­ing se­lect­ed for the league.

The TTFA was yes­ter­day, ex­pect­ed to meet with clubs from the T&T Pro League for con­tin­ued dis­cus­sion on the NE­FL.