National sporting organisations need to put greater emphasis on fund-raising for their respective sports.
That is the sentiment expressed by Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) executive manager of sport development and performance Anthony Creed.
There have been a number of issues surrounding the funding of sporting bodies by the Ministry, the latest being the national women’s hockey team that left T&T yesterday for the Pan American Cup in Mendoza, Argentina. The competition flicks off on Saturday.
The Express reported yesterday that the team had failed to make the $500,000 budget for the trip. They are still $200,000 short.
Yesterday the Express spoke to Creed—brother of Ministry of Sport permanent secretary Ashwin Creed—about the TTHB budget. He gave a breakdown of the funds already provided to the Hockey Board.
“The company had $1.8 million allocated to hockey,” he said. “They have spent $1,962,076. They have exhausted their allocation. The Sports Company can’t take stone and make bread. Plus they got $200,000 from the Ministry of Sports for one of their programmes, which means they got almost $2.2 million.”
The TTHB, he stated, exhausted its allocation by March this year, adding: “Having more money for the allocation, it would have been hard for them to ask for more money.”
Creed told the Express that while 30 per cent of the budget was allocated to player development and a further ten per cent to capacity building, most of the money was actually spent on high performance (international/elite competition).
And Creed, who is also Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president, said the Sports Company was allotted $25.8 million to split among the local sporting bodies.
In its budget submitted to SPORTT, hockey requested $10.8 million, while other requests were as follows: cycling ($5 million), track and field ($8.7 million), volleyball ($6.2 million) and cricket ($12 million).
The sums they actually got were $1.8 million (hockey), $1.3 million (cycling), $2.8 million (track and field) and $3.1 million (cricket).
Creed compared T&T’s government funding to Jamaica’s, stating that the latter was given the equivalent of TT$12 million to divvy up between 42 national sporting organisations. That figure is actually $12.58 million, and was earmarked for supporting development programmes, administrative expenses, training of athletes and administrators, and for participation in national and international competitions.
“The NAAA (National Association of Athletics Administrations) (and) cricket (are) making efforts to get their (corporate) support, but I have no idea what other sponsorships the hockey board (is getting).”
The Hockey Board, however, is not disputing the funds received. Its bone of contention is the money spent on the World Hockey League hosted in T&T last November, an issue raised publicly during the Men’s Pan American Cup last month in Canada, where the T&T stickmen won bronze.
Camacho repeated the claim that the Hockey Board had agreed with the Ministry of Sport to host the World League first round on the basis that the event—a new format of qualifiers introduced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH)—which had not initially been budgeted for would not come out of hockey’s allocation.
The event came off, but the hockey board, Camacho said, was never reimbursed.
“They keep saying hockey has utilised their allocation...but they keep counting the funds from the League,” the former T&T Olympic Committee (T&TOC) president stressed. “If they don’t count that, we wouldn’t be over budget.
“We weren’t prepared to participate and host the competition unless the support was separate and apart from the initial allocation,” he said, adding that the TTHB had agreed to host the event as it falls in line with government’s sports tourism policy.
That, Camacho said, is the reason for the “disconnect” between the Ministry and the Board.
The T&T stickwomen (world ranked 26th) face World No. 2 Argentina, Canada (ranked 23rd) and Guyana (56th) in Pool A for a place in the Pan Am Cup semifinals. The winners of the tournament will compete at the FIH Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands next year.