Four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) in prizes for the 2013 season of the National Super League have not yet been paid, and prize money for the current Super League season is not yet guaranteed since, for the first time in seven years, title sponsors bmobile have not yet given a commitment to the semi-professional second tier of local football.
Yesterday, Super League commissioner Neville Ferguson confirmed that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association had not yet completed a deal with sponsors TSTT to cover this season.
“They (TSTT) haven’t come on board as yet.” Ferguson said. “We are negotiating. But we hope to get them on board soon.”
Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago have funded the prize money for the Super League for the last seven years, while the competition was under the management of All Sport Promotions, run by Anthony Harford.
The 2013 season saw TSTT, which owns the brand name bmobile, pumping $500,000 in prize money into the competition, with the champions Guaya United winning $200,000, runners-up Club Sando winning $100,000, third-placed Malabar winning $75,000 and $25,000 going to the fourth-placed 1976 F.C.Phoenix.
This is the first year the competition is being run by the TTFA, since All Sport gave up the franchise due to a breakdown in its relationship with the Ministry of Sport, another sponsor, which paid inter-island airfare for teams travelling between Trinidad and Tobago for matches.
In giving up the Super League, Harford claimed that the Sport Ministry had not honoured travel arrangements for two years, and without such funds it had become difficult to run the league. The Express learnt that All-Sport had not yet paid prizes for 2013.
“We have written to all the clubs informing them that we will pay the prizes in three months,” Harford said.
Since taking over the Super League, commissioner Ferguson admitted that the League has had its own inter-island travel problems this season. There has also been no cross-seas travel between teams from Trinidad and Tobago and that the first two rounds of matches involving such teams have been cancelled. But, Ferguson assured that such problems will be worked out by the next round of games.
“The League has to go on,” Ferguson declared. “For the time being we are taking care of travel ourselves. But we do have a promise from the Government of reimbursement.”
Ferguson said the main problems was Caribbean Airlines flights.
“We cannot get seats on the aircraft,” Commissioner Ferguson said. “We tried to get seats and they wanted the team to go across, I think quarter past two in the morning, and also overnight. That didn’t make sense.”
“This weekend we have two games, one Trinidad team going over to Tobago and one Tobago team coming to Trinidad. I expect that everything would be fine,” Ferguson said. “We have given them (CAL) the schedule for the entire first round and we are now on top of that. “