Twenty five clubs in Trinidad and Tobago received their club licensing certificate for the 2017 season after completing a compliance process in the first year of the TTFA/CONCACAF Club Licensing programme dating back to 2016.
TTFA President David John Williams promised to introduce the Club Licensing programme into the local game roughly a year ago and on Thursday evening he was proudly congratulating ten T&T Pro League clubs and fifteen Super League clubs upon receiving their certificates following the opening phase of the programme. This is among some of the development programmes the TTFA has introduced in recent times including the FIFA Solidarity and Compensation Training Workshop for local clubs, the CONCACAF Goalkeeping Course, Futsal Referees Course and the TTFA/Dutch Instructors and Coaching courses among others.
Moving Clubs into the process of falling into line with both FIFA and CONCACAF guidelines has been the objective.
John-Williams said the Club Licensing Programme was introduced to assist all local clubs and while the Pro League and Super League clubs were among the first set to benefit from the programme, others clubs in the six local regional associations will be targeted in 2017.
The advancement of club football through the club licensing programme is directly related to key performance indicators within the areas of infrastructure, sporting, administration, finance, legal and social responsibility.
Among the steps in the programme that local clubs are requested to complete include:
-Submitting the four (4) on-line forms to CONCACAF
-Confirming the field of play for home matches
-Confirming the Head Coach for the 1st Team
-Confirming General Manager, finance Officer, Marketing Officer,, Media Officer
-Budget for the current season
-Signing the Legal Declaration
-Clubs Control Mechanism/ Ownership Structure
“The TTFA would like to thank the clubs for participation in something that was necessary and something we felt would play a significant part in the ongoing development of the clubs,” John-Williams said.
“I think it is a step in the right direction but the work has just begun. We have to maintain proper standards and keep improving the standards. One of the key components of this is the financial statements so we need to start planning that now. A lot of the club licensing requirements deals with financials and improving the standard of the game. Let us not sleep on our laurels as the work has only just begun. Again, I would like to say congratulations to the clubs that have received their first certificates,” he added.
The TTFA club licensing manager is Michelle Lynch who will be off to another CONCACAF Club Licensing seminar in a few weeks. The TTFA Club Licensing department also set up a First Instance Body with four appointees announced on Thursday. This body will be responsible for reviewing applications and issuing the club licensing certificates. The members include Christophe Braithwaite (chairman), Samuel Saunders, Gregory Johnson and Roxanne George.
FC Santa Rosa President Keith Look Loy said the presentation ceremony that felt it was a good step for local clubs and he encouraged them to strive for greater heights. He also said it was important for the TTFA and the clubs already in the club licensing system to play its part in assisting clubs that are yet to become compliant and ensure they are able to also benefit from the programme.
CONCACAF club licensing official Alfredo Quiroz said recently that Sanctions are yet to be determined for non-compliant clubs. “CONCACAF certainly won’t be coming in and saying if you are not licensed, then you cannot play, but there has to be some incentives to comply,” he added.
“The benefits are for all to see,” he added. “We will all be doing things a little better, step by step, for players, fans, sponsors. It can help identify the need for improvements on and off the field, increase the knowledge of support staff and help everyone understand what we need to do to move forward.”
According to FIFA, The adaptation of club licensing at confederation and subsequently at member association level such as the TTFA, is a long-term process in which the objective is to provide essential requirements and minimum standards to further enhance club football competitions. At the end of this process, the benefits for clubs, leagues and member associations are numerous: higher level of club management, better level of home-grown players, higher level of play, increase of fans and revenues, and ultimately, better level of the national team.
The Club Licensing System, according to FIFA as stated at the introduction of the club licensing system in Concacaf in 2015, is based on five key criteria: sporting, personnel and administrative, financial, infrastructure and legal. These criteria aim to safeguard the credibility and integrity of club competitions while improving the level of professionalism within the football family and promoting transparency in the finances, ownership and control of clubs.
The following clubs received their club licensing certificate for the season 2017:
T&T Pro League – Caledonia AIA, Central FC, Club Sando, Defence Force, Mau Pau Stars, Point Fortin Civic Centre, Police FC, St. Ann’s Rangers, San Juan Jabloteh, W Connection FC.
Super League – Barrackpore United, Bethel United, Club Sando FC, Cunupia FC, Defence Force FC, FC Santa Rosa, Guaya United, Marabella Family Crisis Centre, Matura Reunited FC, 1976 Phoenix, Police FC, Queen’s Park Cricket Club, University of Trinidad & Tobago, WASA FC, Youth Stars.