Ascension League boss Richard Ferguson says the Ascension League is ready to start as soon as the government gives sports the green light to proceed. Organized competitive sports have been on pause since the start of the covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, with only national team trials and training allowed. However, at the budget presentation on October 4th, Minister of Finance announced that sports is set to return soon, with international cricket possible returning with cricket matches between West Indies vs England. Speaking on the 29th episode of the Ascension Football Show, Mr. Ferguson explained “We have already contracted Sportsmax to do the production of the tournament and it will be shown live on Sportsmax. I believe Tv6 will also be streamed live over the internet, so we are ready and prepared for that”. The Ascension tournament is simply waiting on the go ahead from the Prime Minister to proceed.
CLUBS VS COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Clubs have been negatively affected economically by the covid-19 pandemic, and some may find it difficult to prepare for the season. Mr. Ferguson acknowledges the economic pressures the world in general is facing, and it has filtered down to the football. “It’s stressful right now and everybody has financial issues. We have it here at Rangers, the Pro League has it, the Super League has it. It’s tough, but we need to get back on the horse and start riding again”. Mr. Ferguson admits it has been a difficult two years, especially for the footballers who rely on football to put food on the table.
Commenting on the Relief Fund from world governing body for football, FIFA, to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, Mr. Ferguson said would have expected the funds to supplement the income or at least what is lost because of the covid-19 pandemic. “But unfortunately that was not done”.
Clubs have been relying on the government to survive for the past few years, and Mr. Ferguson describes football in Trinidad and Tobago as an “amateur sport. It’s only three clubs who really pay players: Police, Defence Force and Rangers. The other clubs, when they get money from the government, they hire some players and then they come and play”. However, Ferguson admits that he does not believe the government has enough revenue to finance football anymore.
WHY FOOTBALL IN TRINIDAD IS NOT GENERATING MONEY?
Ferguson describes football as ‘wave’, using the Strike Squad in 1989 and the Soca Warriors in 2006 as an example. Corporate Trinidad and Tobago got behind the team as the team was on a high. But that is not the case now. “If we had won the Gold Cup, the situation would have been different. If we had reached the final 8 of the World Cup Qualifiers, it would have been different.”