Point Fortin, Jabloteh among clubs to contest million $ Digicel Pro League
Point Fortin Civic Football Club, now formerly Point Fortin Civic Centre, and San Juan Jabloteh are among the cache of clubs that will be vying for the 2013-14 million dollar Digicel Pro League championship which kicks off on the weekend.
On Wednesday morning during the official launch of the league championship, CEO of the professional league, Dexter Skeene, announced the entry of Point Fortin as well as the return of four-time Pro League champions Jabloteh.
Point Fortin, which has former Trinidad and Tobago footballers Steve David and Reynold Carrington as its technical director and head coach respectively, will have their first taste of the league on Friday night against Police FC from 8pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium, following a 6pm clash between last season’s fifth place finishers Central FC and defending champions Defence Force.
And on Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium St. Ann’s Rangers coached by Gilbert Bateau will host DIRECTV W Connection from 5pm and from 7pm Caledonia AIA of Morvant/Laventille will tackle North East Stars.
Meantime Jabloteh, one of the founding members of the league which took a sabbatical last season because of financial constraints, receives a Round One Match Day One bye. Former youth coach Keith Jeffrey is named as the club’s new coach.
Skeene was also delighted to inform clubs that the champion team will now receive $1,000,000—a huge increase from the previous winners take of $350,000—while the overall prize money payout scheme stands at $2,000,000 through a combination of sponsorship and other revenue.
He said, “The rational at this genesis in the reality that it costs between 1.4 and 2 million TT dollars to run a professional football team.
“Professional football requires capital and investment. The economic must make sense. Clubs must be in a position to invest in their academies and youth development programmes while at the same time, investing in high quality players.”
The Pro League CEO added that the ambition of the TT Pro League is that the champion club and the runner-up must now strive to advance into the knockout stage of the Concacaf Champions League.
Skeene regrettably informed that T&TEC FC, which debuted in the Pro League two seasons ago and had a shot at qualifying for the present CCL campaigned by W Connection and Caledonia, decided to withdraw from the 2013-14 season.
However with the return of Jabloteh and the arrival of Point Fortin increases the number of teams to nine (9), one more than last season.
“It has not been an easy road for the TT Pro League and its directors,” shared Skeene. “Without the unwavering support of the Ministry of Sport and successive Ministers of Sport… the current Minister of Sport (Anil Roberts), you would not have been here today.
“In addition, the TT Pro League’s loyal and corporate partners contributed and supported the vision of where we wanted to take the TT Pro League.
“It is the beauty of the TT Pro League to strive to improve and allow the players to strive for excellence. To always try to create the environment and set stage for players, coaches, club owners, sponsors and fans to raise the bar, with the end product being high quality football, and a football experience.”
There was also a promise to fans. The former national striker promised that “this season we will see the TT Pro League playing a number of games in community fields”.