Skeene: No reason why new format shouldn't work

Skeene: No reason why new format shouldn't workTT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene is confident that the new calendar format will work in favour of the local professional football league, however patience is required.

"We see no reason why it shouldn't work," said the TT Pro League CEO as he spoke during the launch of the 2010 Digicel Pro League Championship on Wednesday morning at the Digicel Box of the Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain.

"In the past weeks planning was at a crescendo...discussions were heated and decisions had to be made by the Board of Directors which had far reaching implications for the future of the Digicel Pro League," continued Skeene.

“Today I’m pleased to say that hard and difficult decisions have been taken and the crescendo now, is in readiness for kickoff of the Digicel Pro League. Coaches, managers and players are excited to step onto the playing field and display what we all have been waiting for this season.”

The 2010 Digicel Pro League season which kicks off on Friday 23 April will see a number of changes. League matches will be primarily played on weekends within two rounds of football—cutting off the traditional Big Six round. This is expected to sweeten the hype surrounding the League Championship which will end in December 2010.

However the season will run into 2011 with knockout competitions stretching the calendar into March—aligning the calendar with that of Europe.

“I am pleased to announce that the format of the Digicel Pro League Calendar and playing days have been modified to benefit all stakeholders including the fans, players, coaches, sponsors and the League,” added the former Trinidad and Tobago international.

Skeene explained that the challenge is now to implement strategies to increase spectator interest and attendance. He believes that the efforts by sponsor Digicel, a continued arrangement with CCN TV6, a new radio deal and continued internet broadcasts, will better promote the League and in return attract further interest.

“I want to remind you that success is a long journey and patience is the key ingredient with regard to the Digicel Pro League.  Today is not important, everyday is important. We have to create the environment where everyone has to buy into the concept of success and the key people around you must commit to common goals and objectives.  

“The Digicel Pro League is an idea whose time has come.  It started in the ’50’s with Don Basil Matthews when he brought in a foreign coach to coach St. Benedict’s and produced players like Warren Archibald, Leroy De Leon and Steve David.  Arthur Suite in the early ‘80’s financed a premier league which assisted in the development of players like Ron La Forrest, Stuart Charles-Fevrier, Milton Archibald, Brian Williams, Len La Forrest, and Selris Figaro.

“FIFA Vice President Jack Warner continued the process with the PFL in 1999 and today continuing in the footsteps of these past visionaries are David John-Williams, Darryl Mahabir, Jack Warner, Richard Fakoory, Louis Lee Sing, Jamaal Shabazz and Peter Granville, who understand that this is more than football, it is about creating an opportunity for the youth to maximize their potential to strive for excellence utilizing their God given talent to earn a living, to support their families and communities.”

Skeene also applaued the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited for their continued support of the TT Pro League since 2004, adding that the league offers a tangible benefit and hope for many in this country.