A call is now being made for all clubs in the regional football associations - Eastern Football Association (EFA), Northern Football Association (NFA), Southern Football Association (SFA), Central Football Association (CFA), Tobago Football Association (TFA) and the Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) to be given financial assistance by government.
Alvin Corneal, owner of East football campaigners Malta Carib Alcons said he believes government through the Ministry of Sports, has set a bad precedence by providing financial help to clubs in the T&T Pro League and not other teams. He pointed out that while he supports the subventions being given to pro league teams, there were other clubs that provide players to the national teams and not only those in the pro league.
According to the ex-national footballer and coach, teams in the six regional associations put out huge sums of money each year and receive nothing in return. Only last year Alcons won the $15,000 first prize for the League as well as the Premier Division award which carried a cash prize of $20,000, but are yet to receive these prizes. Like the pro league teams, regional association clubs also have to fork out money for uniforms, transport and other miscellaneous expenses.
Presently eight out of the ten pro league clubs - W Connection, San Juan Jabloteh, North East Stars, Point Fortin Civic Centre, Club Sando, Central FC, Morvant Caledonia United and St Ann's Rangers received funding from government totalling $50,000.
"It's not only the ten pro league teams that provide teams to the national teams. The government has been setting a bad example by giving one and not all because clubs in the regional associations also have expenses too and are deserving of help if other clubs are getting" Corneal explained.
Corneal added that government's decision to pay clubs is equivalent to paying for players chosen by private investors. He believes the focus should not only be placed on the end product but critically at the development of the players, which is what happens at the regional association level.
Teams in the regional associations receive an average of $15,000 for the league and $20,000 for the premier division which Corneal feels are insufficient when you take into consideration the expenses that teams have to pay. Alcons' successes to date have earned them a place in the Super League which carried a first prize of $240,000 for the league.
However, Corneal said they have asked for this promotion to be put on hold as his team needed sufficient time to prepare.