President of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB), Azim Bassarath says that those who are opposed to the board ending the national league cricket are doing so out of greed and selfishness.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Monday when asked to respond to the complaints from some local clubs being unhappy with the fact that the board called off the domestic season with two rounds of matches to play Bassarath explained that on May 13, due to the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic, the TTCB decided to cancel all cricket under its auspices. The T&TCB decided to declare this year's tournaments as null and void and to start the 2021 season with the same team structure in the different leagues similar to 2020.
The board is hosting an over-40 and over-50 league and some clubs have been criticizing the move saying that it is unfair. In response Bassarath said: "We decided at the time based on what was going on with the COVID 19 pandemic that it was imperative that we stop the league. We had a vote and 12 of the 14 people on the national league committee voted to stop the league and end it there. We agreed at the point to start afresh next season with all the clubs staying in their respective league. We decided to crown no champions and allow no demotions or promotions. The few clubs who are making noise at the moment are doing so out of selfishness and greed."
He said: "Last year we were approached by Mr Bert (Lambert Lee-Ahyen) to partner with him for the over-40 and over-50 leagues. This is the time of the year that these players at this age group come out to play their cricket. That time has come and we are allowing them the opportunity to play. We have made it clear that there shall be no spectators at the grounds during these matches. The national league is our biggest tournament and we could not take a chance by having these matches played on pitches grounds that are not ready for cricket. We have made a decision and we are standing by it."
President of Marchin Patriots Adrian Ali hit back saying: "He (Bassarath) can sit in an office and make these comments about greed and selfishness. I don't think that is the situation. He is not at the club level to see the struggles to get sponsors on board and all the hard work that goes on in having a club participate at the national league level. We have spent over $100,000 in order to compete and now we have nothing to show for it. We were on top of the South Championship and would have gotten a promotion to the Premiership. Now we have to restart with nothing but expenses still to take care of.
"They are just making excuses about the grounds. Most of the grounds in the country are in good condition because the Regional Corporation has been taking care of them. The board should have acted better and allowed the season to re-start and finish."