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Organisers of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament agreed to remove T&T from the Red Steel team since last year, according to a letter from sports minister Anil Roberts which was sent to Damien O’Donogue, chief executive officer of the League, last week. Roberts’ letter, which was copied to Red Steel manager Colin Borde and president of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath, indicated that the minister held eight cordial meetings with CPL officials who agreed since last year to remove T&T from the franchise name.
Over the weekend, an irate Red Steel captain Dwayne Bravo revealed in Grenada that he was informed of the decision to remove T&T from the team’s name on the eve of the opening match against Barbados Tridents. He said CPL officials handed him a release which stated that Roberts had requested that T&T be withdrawn from the franchise. Bravo said he would continue to use the T&T brand and was prepared to deal with it if he got into trouble. In his letter, Roberts said the onus was on CPL to inform Bravo of the development. “It was expected that you would have informed Mr Bravo at his signing with the team of the mandated alteration to the team’s name and advise him of all the necessary protocols involved in the use of the name of a sovereign nation.”
Roberts slammed Bravo calling his outburst at the toss completely disrepectful and improper. “As an employee in a privately run tournament, it is improper and completely disrespectful for him to publicly challenge the rules and regulations regarding the use of a country’s name and also publicly attempt to belittle the valid concerns and legal responsibilities of an elected representative of that nation’s Government. “I also would expect the CPL to make a very clear and definitive public statement on the issue, outlining very clearly the cordial and respectful meetings and discussions that were held before the eventual outcome.
“Based on what I have read in the press, it seems that Mr Bravo only was informed that the name T&T could not be used just before the start of the Red Steel’s first match. Please inform your charge that this development followed a series of eight meetings with members of the CPL executive, including one with the CEO, two months ago. This was not a decision. It is simply that the protocols surrounding the use of our beloved country’s name would not allow this private team to be branded T&T. There will be no negotiation, neither any compromise. T&T’s name, cannot and will not be used in this privately run venture that has absolutely no involvement with the T&T Cricket Board, the only recognised cricket sporting body in the world with the right to use our country’s name. These were principles the CPL executive recognised and understood last year when it was agreed by all that the T&T name would be dropped from the Red Steel team. Mr Bravo’s outburst suggests that either he is publically going against the mandates of his employer or the CPL is backtracking on its earlier agreement to respect the regulations surrounding the use of the name T&T.”
Roberts went on to explain that Bravo’s statement on the weekend made his point even stronger. “His references to the use of city names in other franchises across the world add strength to my previous argument that no country uses their name for franchise teams, not even states. Only cities allow their names to be used. A key issue here is the sovereignty of each nation. City names have an entirely different set of protocols regarding their use and by their very nature, cities have transient populations so it is difficult to make a claim of being a citizen of a city but in terms of a country, the regulations and official citizen recognitions are very clear. “As a matter of fact, even within the United States, there are certain states that require you to be resident in that state for at least six months and demonstrate proof of that residency before you can represent that state in a sporting competition. Hence the reason all of the franchise teams are named after cities.”