Skeene seeks club self-sustenance

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer (CEO) of the TT Pro League, Dexter Skeene, is currently holding discussions with the Ministry of Sport, Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT ) and member clubs to source avenues of self-sustenance and viability within the League.

TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene

This comes following recent reports of a monetary cut in Pro League team subventions by the Government due to the nation’s present economic constraints. Although an approximate $33,000 slash per club has been hinted, Skeene was unable to disclose such figures since according to him, discussions with the involved parties are still ongoing. 

Originally, Pro League clubs receive a monthly grant of $83,000 from SporTT to assist in reducing financial burdens. But, due to the current economic downturn, the Government is presently contemplating a much-needed cut of these monies across the board. 

Speaking to the Pro League president yesterday, he revealed that these cuts may be unavoidable and that teams must soon become self-sustainable to ensure internal growth and the future success of the clubs and League as a whole. This cut has been rumoured to come into effect at the end of February. 

“We have not yet received anything official from the Ministry (of Sports) as yet concerning this,” indicated Skeene. “We are still in discussions with the Minister (Darryl Smith) and SporTT . 

When you look at the overall economic situation on a global scale, everything is being cut and football is no exception. 

“We however, appreciate and look up to the Ministry as one of our partners. We will continue to develop our partnerships to build our corporate portfolio. We are still thankful for the government’s support through the years because the Minister himself understands the importance of the Pro League to the national effort in terms of qualifying for a World Cup on a regular basis and building a professional football industry.” The football administrator also revealed that Smith and other members of the Pro League executive are in the process of visiting grounds throughout TT to better the facilities for both clubs and fans alike. Strategies such as these are expected to boost fan support, derive sponsorship opportunities and strengthen clubs financially. 

“The upgrading of these facilities that are represented in the communities are being done so that the teams will know how to monetise their assets in an effort to increase their revenue streams to become self-sustainable and viable,” he added. “All of those discussions are taking place and we are working hand in hand with the Government to build the professional football industry. These discussions are ongoing and we look forward to increased dialogue to the Ministry.” According to Skeene, the League started with its subvention and its application went to the Ministry of Trade because it was looked upon as building an industry. It was based upon the premise that the subventions would decrease as the clubs got team fees (self-sustainable monies). 

This has been seen as the most important asset for the club since they can start to build communities and themselves to become more feasible. 

“As the fees came on stream, we would be weaned off these subventions as the clubs start to generate sponsors from fans within their communities, merchandising and television rights. Once these can be achieved, and they can, there will no longer be need for Government subventions. It has not panned out exactly as expected given all circumstances, the Board is hoping that it can continue until we get these fees up and running. 

“Only then we can start to look at viable like any other club throughout the world. We are not asking for handouts but we are looking at how best we can build the industry,” he concluded.