There is no ceiling for the number of teams entering the proposed New Elite Football League in September.
Acting general secretary of the T&T Football Association Amiel Mohammed sought to clear the air on this misconception as the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee and the embattled football association seek a model that will meet the needs of all clubs.
Up to last Friday’s deadline date for registration, 20 clubs, mostly from the T&T Pro League and the T&T Super Leagues had submitted applications to be in the league. Two weeks ago, a document explaining the concept of the league that also served as an invitation stated: “The league is posed to be the primary affiliated, elite and premier league of T&T, operating at the highest level domestically.
Club licensing and other regulations have been designed as a development tool for all football clubs in T&T. The criteria outlined in these regulations have been carefully selected to serve as guidelines for clubs looking to increase their professionalism.
The NEFL is expected to run from September to May 2023 on an annual basis, with an initial horizon of three years.”
Before last Friday’s close of the deadline, some clubs raised concerns about being possibly left out if they were not among the 10 teams to be selected and about the exorbitant registration fees.
Mohammed explained to Guardian Media Sports yesterday that, “There is no threshold, there is no ceiling. I don’t know where the misconception is that there is only ten teams in the league. If we have, for example, 15 teams that fulfil the criteria, then we roll with 15 teams, if we have 95 teams that will fulfil the criteria, we roll with 95.
Of course, I am just exaggerating that, but that is what it is. If it only has eight teams that fulfil the criteria, the same principle applies.”
“ We’re always engaging the stakeholders, so we will continue to engage with them to hear their concerns, whetehr it be those concerns or any other concerns, to find the model of the best way to move forward,” said Mohammed.
The clubs to have submitted applications are going through the club licensing process at this time. This, as outlined in the document, is critical to clubs’ selection for the league.
“What they submitted was just an appilcation form for the league, that don’t mean that they’re in the league,” Mohammed said.
Selection for the league requires clubs to satisfy two main areas, namely (1) Club Licensing Requirements, which will be governed by the guidelines where the First Instance Body will receive application from clubs and make decisions on granting licenses. And (2) League Development Committee Requirements- which will review applications based on the domestic requirements that are outlined to participate in the league.
Should clubs be approved in both areas, they will be assured of being selected in the league.
Mohammed said his organisation has not yet received funding for the league, but will continue to keep the stakeholders updated. He described it as a work in progress.
The TTFA/NC has approached the government for an injection of $3.5 million for a three-year period. This amount will ensure that each club in the top tier, receives $250, 000 to be used to pay salaries over the eight-month period.
The remaining amount will be used to cover referees fees ($500, 000), administrative fees, a second tier league which is expected to cost approximately $300, 000 and coaches’ education.
Clubs are also required to pay a registration fee of $75, 000 to be placed in bond/trust to secure their entry in the top tier league.