DEPENDENT on Government’s release of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, local football should resume in August when both the TT Pro League and the Trinidad and Tobago Super League plan to independently launch their 2020 competitions.
Both Pro League acting-chairman Brent Sancho and Super League president Keith Look Loy announced a planned August start of their competitions. However, neither could say whether the long-touted integrated league between the two top divisions of local football will become a reality this season.
“We’re already having a conversation at the board level and with the clubs, and we are hoping that we could start by the middle of August,” said Look Loy, head of the tier two semi-professional Super League.
President of former champions FC Santa Rosa, Look Loy anticipates such time would give clubs five to six weeks’ pre-season training before football actually begins.
“If they open up the country by the 22nd and team sport becomes possible and all of that, which is basically the end of June, then we hoping to start by the middle of August,” Look Loy said.
Sancho said the tier one TT Pro League was also anticipating competition kicking off in August subject, he said, to “all protocols observed as it relates to the Covid-19 restrictions.”
The Central FC owner explained: “Although the end of August is the start date, we are just going on the mere fact that the end of June is when we are allowed to go back out in groups and play.
“We are just like any other national in the country, where we have to play it by ear when it comes to the situation (Covid-19). The clubs are well aware and well mindful of the dates we would have set,” Sancho said.
Look Loy said he did not know if there were still plans for an integrated league between the two tiers, as once discussed.
“We don’t know the answer to that. So we are preparing to run our competitions by ourselves. We don’t know where that proposal is and we can’t sit down and wait,” he said.
“Last year we sat and we waited for the new league, the T-League or whatever you want to call it, and it didn’t come off. It was a good thing we also had our own plans so we were able to start up our operation quickly and play a one-round league.”
Meanwhile, former Sport Minister Sancho is still optimistic of a merger between the two, if only in the future.
“I don’t think it should be off. I stand by what the Board of the TT Pro League says — that a national approach is the best-fit for football in this country. We all now have to, of course, come together for the best of the sport in the country.”
Sancho added: “I think that if that is the evolution of where we are going, the national approach, that will have to be a collective conversation.
“We are sounding the clarion horn and looking for all stakeholders to come together, putting all political affiliations aside, and work for the best interest in Trinidad and Tobago.”