Financially starved Jabloteh pulls out of League

Financially starved Jabloteh pulls out of LeagueSan Juan Jabloteh has announced via a press release on Monday that its football club among other sporting disciplines have been suspended because of a “financial constraints”.

“The club has arrived at this critical juncture in its 38 year history in the light of the increasing volatility of the diminishing flow of resources from the public and private sectors,” stated a section of the lengthy document which bared club Chairman Jerry Hospedales’ printed name at the end.

This means the once powerful Jabloteh will not line-up among the teams for the upcoming 2012-2013 TT Pro League season set to begin in August.

According to the release, the club made the decision on June 30 immediately suspending the operations relating to its senior football “in efforts to restructure operations to bring revenue streams into approximate balance with the expenditure profile.”

Jabloteh also informed that its women’s football and youth clinic activities have been suspended earlier, while it would continue its youth football activities during a transitional period and in the context of its current financial arrangements. Meantime the sports club netball team would continue as it has been doing under its own fundraising initiatives.

“Since becoming a professional entity in 1995 the club has been discharging a mandate focused on providing avenues through which the young people in the high risk and underprivileged communities of the east west corridor could earn incomes while utilizing their natural talents. Building self esteem and self reliance among these young people was central to addressing issues relating to crime and deprivation in these communities,” continued the release.

Jabloteh’s honour role includes four(4) Pro League titles (2002, 2003, 2007 & 2008), three(3) FA Trophy titles (1998, 2005 & 2010), three-time (First Citizens) Cup winners (1999, 2000 & 2003), three-time Big Six winners (2004, 2006 & 2008), two-time (Digicel) Pro Bowl winners (2005 & 2006), Toyota Classic winners in 2008, winner of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship in 2008 and participated in the CONCACAF Champions Cup(presently the CONCACAF Champions’ League) in 2004, 2009 & 2010 making it one of the powerhouses of Trinidad and Tobago football in recent years with Englishman Terry Fenwick the club’s most successful coach.

“The club could not have achieved its well known reputation, credibility and success without its results oriented programmes and the decision of a number of sponsors well-known for their corporate social responsibility who had decided to identify their companies with these communities,” stated the release which went further to commended CLICO for its stable financial support over 15 years sponsorship and other commitments of companies such as First Citizens Bank, IBWILL Insurance Brokers, Express Drugs and most recently Adam’s Project Management and Construction Limited.

Telecommunication Service of Trinidad and Tobago also received praise through its Bmobile brand has been instrumental in ensuring the club’s participation at CONCACAF and in maintaining the technical excellence of the youth teams.

The Ministry of Sport, however, was labeled an intermittent financial support.

The release added: “The various sponsorships have allowed the club to make differences in the lives of many young people in communities with so many social ills: unemployment, crime and delinquency; but these young people have performed admirably on the national stage where since 1998 when the profession al football began, the club has won 17 major titles.

“The youth teams have also performed admirably winning various youth competitions in each year since the competitions began in 2004. During this golden age period, the club has contributed a large number of players to the junior and senior national teams, including three(3) players(Aurtis Whitley, Cyd Gray and Anthony Wolfe) on the 2006 (T&T) World Cup team.

“The club wishes to confirm its commitment to national football; but the volatility of financial support makes such a commitment difficult to sustain. In fact since the understandable decision of CLICO to disengage from the sponsorship in 2009, efforts to put together a group of sponsors to identify with the objective of the club and to seek to find solutions to the grave problems facing these communities have not been entirely successful.

“Moreover, the only stable source of finance – that from the Ministry of Sport and the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago – has turned out to be less than stable. Initially put at $17,000 per month in May 2010, that amount was suspended in January 2011, re-instituted in October 2011 where arrears only backdated to May 2011. Increased to $50,000 per month in October 2011 and was once again terminated in January 2012 and that without notice and rationale.

“The club is convinced that this state-funding represents an important and stable source of financial flows to the community clubs participating in the TT Pro League and allows them to discharge their social mandates. Many of them augment the state resources through their own fundraising efforts; but the resource of difficulty for San Juan Jabloteh is that not only has the club received over a long period, a different and lesser level of funding from that of the other clubs but since January 2012 it is the only community club which is not accessing state funding, despite exceptional efforts undertaken by the club to restore that funding.”

The club also pleaded with corporate Trinidad and Tobago to now review in their social corporate responsibility with a view to addressing and finding solutions to the grave problems facing our society.

“And they should do so by establishing sustained engagements with community organizations which are central to nation building and community enhancement; but the role of the Government cannot be overemphasized as a source of stable finance and catalyst for empowering social organizations in high risk communities.”