Tecnología

Ascension football league kicks off March 25

The sec­ond in­stal­ment of the As­cen­sion In­vi­ta­tion­al Foot­ball League has been giv­en the all-clear for a March 18 open­ing with of­fi­cial com­pe­ti­tion match­es set to be­gin a week lat­er on March 25 at the La Hor­quet­ta Recre­ation Ground

This was con­firmed both by the Min­is­ter of Sports and Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment, Sham­fa Cud­joe and As­cen­sion League tour­na­ment di­rec­tor, Ke­iron Ed­wards when con­tact­ed about the com­pe­ti­tion on Tues­day

The league was first held in 2019, as a pre-sea­son event to the T&T Pro League sea­son with record-do­mes­tic league cham­pi­on De­fence Force cap­tur­ing the Di­vi­sion One crown and $125,000 top prize, while San Fer­nan­do Gi­ants won Di­vi­sion Two and $100,000

The sec­ond in­stal­ment of the As­cen­sion In­vi­ta­tion­al Foot­ball League has been giv­en the all-clear for a March 18 open­ing with of­fi­cial com­pe­ti­tion match­es set to be­gin a week lat­er on March 25 at the La Hor­quet­ta Recre­ation Ground

This was con­firmed both by the Min­is­ter of Sports and Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment, Sham­fa Cud­joe and As­cen­sion League tour­na­ment di­rec­tor, Ke­iron Ed­wards when con­tact­ed about the com­pe­ti­tion on Tues­day

The league was first held in 2019, as a pre-sea­son event to the T&T Pro League sea­son with record-do­mes­tic league cham­pi­on De­fence Force cap­tur­ing the Di­vi­sion One crown and $125,000 top prize, while San Fer­nan­do Gi­ants won Di­vi­sion Two and $100,000.

How­ev­er, due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, the com­pe­ti­tion was not held in 2020 or last year, but tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers have been very busy and in con­sul­ta­tion with of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Sports and Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment, Sports Com­pa­ny of T&T (SporTT) and Min­istry of Health to start the tour­na­ment which has a bud­get of $3.5 mil­lion by mid-March with $175,000 in prize mon­ey

Last month, fol­low­ing a meet­ing of sport­ing stake­hold­ers, T&TFA Gen­er­al Sec­re­tary Amiel Mo­hammed said that the grant­i­ng of the en­dorse­ment let­ter need­ed by the As­cen­sion Tour­na­ment would be dis­cussed by the as­so­ci­a­tion with the help of the new­ly in­stalled Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor of the T&TFA, An­ton Corneal

Reached for a re­sponse on the tour­na­ment Mo­hammed con­firmed that fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions by the Nor­mal­i­sa­tion Com­mit­tee-led T&TFA and its of­fi­cials the As­cen­sion In­vi­ta­tion­al were grant­ed its en­dorse­ment let­ter which gives the com­pe­ti­tion the full back­ing of the lo­cal foot­ball body

Mo­hammed al­so stat­ed that two oth­er tour­na­ments, name­ly the Tiger Tank Un­der-20 Tour­na­ment and the Next Lev­el Con­sult­ing Lim­it­ed U-19 Com­mu­ni­ty In­vi­ta­tion­al are ex­pect­ed to be in­formed by the end of the week if they too will be giv­en the green light for their stag­ing,

Al­so last month Ed­wards al­so con­firmed that the As­cen­sion In­vi­ta­tion­al re­ceived the en­dorse­ment let­ter from the T&TFA while they were al­so giv­en the all-clear by the Min­istry of Sports and Sports Com­pa­ny of T&T with re­gards to the health and safe­ty guide­lines and pro­to­cols to be im­ple­ment­ed at the venues

How­ev­er, ac­cord­ing to Ed­wards, the on­ly hin­drance to the league kick­ing off was get­ting the all-clear by Min­is­ter Ter­rance Deyals­ingh’s Min­istry of Health

And reached for com­ment yes­ter­day, Ed­wards con­firmed that the As­cen­sion League was now in pos­ses­sion of their let­ters of per­mis­sion from the Min­istry of Health, Min­istry of Sports and Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment as well as the T&TFA

Ed­wards added, “It’s a re­al sign of re­lief for us and we are very grate­ful to the Gov­ern­ment for their sup­port, and we are now in the fi­nal stages of plan­ning for the open­ing on March 18 and what that will en­tails to be fol­lowed by the of­fi­cial start of match­es on March 25

Com­ment­ing on the ap­proval, Cud­joe said that ear­ly last month when the Min­istry of Sports and Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment met with As­cen­sion League rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ke­iron Ed­wards, the Sports Com­pa­ny of T&T and the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (T&TFA), the As­cen­sion League not­ed that the T&TFA was giv­ing them some push back in the grant­i­ng of ap­proval

“But since then they (As­cen­sion) have been giv­en the nec­es­sary ap­proval from T&TFA and I spoke with Ke­iron (Ed­wards) again on Feb­ru­ary 24, when he reached out to me and told me to thank you so much af­ter I sent him a copy of the let­ter

She added, “He mes­saged me while I was in Cab­i­net on Thurs­day (Feb­ru­ary 24), and I told him that they (As­cen­sion League or­gan­is­ers) were good to go and I sent him the signed let­ter where the Min­istry of Health wrote to me and I told him it was just a mat­ter of him pick­ing up his let­ter, and he told me thank you so much for the up­date.”

Cud­joe not­ed that Ed­wards on­ly had one con­cern when he saw the ap­proval which cen­tred around the dates set out for the start­ing and com­ple­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion

She ex­plained, “He said one thing I saw was that the ap­proval was from March 18 to April 31, but there was a back and forth about want­i­ng the end date in Au­gust, but the ap­pli­ca­tion they sub­mit­ted for be­tween March and April, so they were not clear on what they want­ed.

” I then spoke with Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyal­is­ngh and he said he will change the dates to cov­er the en­tire pe­ri­od of the league and I spoke with the Min­is­ter’s le­gal team with re­gards to hav­ing the let­ter done over and so on, and he said he was just go­ing to write them a blan­ket ap­proval be­cause we are very adamant about hav­ing sport re-open and we con­tin­ue to push for the full re-open­ing of sport and I think we are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

For this year’s tour­na­ment, the ten par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs in the Pre­mier Di­vi­sion are ex­pect­ed to be Ter­minix La Hor­quet­ta Rangers, T&T De­fence Force, T&T Po­lice, Mal­abar FC, Cen­tral FC, De­porti­vo Pt Fortin, Cen­tral Soc­cer World, AC Port-of-Spain, Cunu­pia FC and Re­al West Fort FC who will com­pete in two rounds of foot­ball pro­vid­ing 18 match days for a win­ners prize of $100,000, sec­ond place $50,000, and third $25,000

The ad­di­tion­al venues to be used in­clude the St James Po­lice Bar­racks Grounds, St James; Diego Mar­tin Sport­ing Com­plex, Diego Mar­tin; Ari­ma Mu­nic­i­pal Sta­di­um, Ari­ma; and the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um, Mu­cu­rapo

While the fo­cus, for now, is on the stag­ing of the top flight ten-club com­pe­ti­tion, Ed­wards not­ed that dis­cus­sions are al­so con­tin­u­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the six T&TFA re­gion­al as­so­ci­a­tions in­clu­sive of the East­ern Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (EFA), Cen­tral Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (CFA), South­ern Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (SFA), North­ern Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (NFA), To­ba­go Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TFA), and the East­ern Coun­ties Foot­ball Union (EC­FU) to host their tour­na­ments to the $1.5 mil­lion as well

The As­cen­sion League is al­so ex­pect­ed to be aired on Sports­Max and two lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tions so far