Azim Bassarath, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) believes their will be no tangible benefit to local cricket from this country hosting seven matches in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
In a media release, Bassarath also argued that the US $4.2 million gifted to the foreign owners of the regional competition could be better spent on supporting home grown talent.
Bassarath also expressed his displeasure at the treatment meted out by the CPL organisers who last week launched the 2015 edition of the tournament in Port-of-Spain but left out the local board.
“It was yet another demonstration of the lack of respect that the CPL has for regional cricket boards who are responsible for the growth and development of the local game yet are locked out of all that they have to offer,” said Bassarath.
He said over the past four years, the TTCB faced an uphill battle to access funds earmarked by the Government for cricket development and assistance of the national senior team.
Bassarath said the TTCB recently met with new Minister of Sport Brent Sancho and was pleased with the way the discussions went insisting that the national cricket organisation has not been going to Government “cap in hand”.
“We have a track record of accountability and transparency and won the ‘Best Sports Administration of the Year’ award on several occasions. What we have been making representation for is what was promised us and which we believe we deserve,” said Bassarath. He said that over the past several years TT cricket has put the country on the international map as local players have excelled on the international stage for both their country and overseas franchises.
Bassarath said this has been achieved while more than TT $24 million in funds due to the organisation for national development and preparation of the TT Red Force for the Champions League T20 tournament for four years has as yet remained unpaid.
He said that it was a slap in the face of the local game and its administrators for taxpayers’ money to be funnelled to foreign investors who are exploiting the skills and talent of a legion of local cricketers nurtured and cultivated by the TTCB.
Bassarath said he remembered clearly at the launch of the CPL that the investors publicly stated that they would not be approaching regional governments for funding to stage their competition.
“It was stated then that their sponsors for the six teams will come from India and we were all persuaded that this would be the case which has turned out to be not true at all. Regional cricket boards are the ones being done a great disservice,” Bassarath fumed.
He also made reference to a proposal that the TTCB made to the previous Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith requesting assistance for 191 clubs who participate at all levels of the local game.
The expected cost of the exercise was close to TT $5 million per season and this would have covered the most important aspects of enabling the teams to participate in competitions and help strengthen the clubs at the grassroots level.
“We are hoping that the new Minister will take up this initiative as it will impact 191 communities in Trinidad and Tobago and the benefits will be innumerable not transient and miniscule like what the CPL promises,” said Bassarath.