Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 21st 2014 Contents A69
Monday, July 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Minister of Sport, Anil Roberts and the
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) must be
applauded for their respective decisions taken
concerning national and regional identity as
it relates to cricket. Although the issues are
different, the decision taken by the WICB rein-
forces the position taken by Minister Roberts.
Minister Roberts has rightly asked the officials
of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to
remove the name Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)
from the Red Steel. There are several reasons
why his actions are justified.
Firstly, the name Trinidad and Tobago should
be reserved solely to represent the citizens
(whether native or naturalised) of Trinidad and
Tobago. Likewise only sporting teams consisting
of citizens of T&T should be allowed to use the
name Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad and Tobago is not just a name but
represents a country s identity through its history,
economics, politics and culture. As such the
country s identity must be protected and defend-
ed by its citizenry whether they reside in or
outside the country.
Patriotic pride should be attached to the
name. If the national anthem had to be played,
whose anthem would be played? And this argument
applies not only to Trinidad and Tobago but to every
other country in the CPL and the rest of the world.
Secondly, CPL is a franchise competition. It is
owned and operated by a private company using a
business model of profit maximisation. Each of the
six (6) franchises are privately owned. The franchises
comprise of players drawn from a regional and inter-
national pool. The government nor the respective
local national cricket body does not have any authority
in the operation of these franchises. Therefore, it is
only logical that these franchises should only bear
the non-country names (Red Steel, Amazon Warriors,
Trident, Hawksbill, Zouk and Tallawahs) they have
The difference between the CPL and the Stanford
20/20 is that the latter allowed for individual countries
to compete against each other. Each country and
their respective cricket board was responsible for
their national team. The free movement of regional
or international players was not allowed. Therefore,
there was no need to question the usage of Trinidad
and Tobago as all the players were bona fide citizens
of the country.
Thirdly, the response of the CEO of the CPL Damien
O Donohoe reinforces the above points and the posi-
tion of Minister Roberts. According to O Donohoe,
"CPL would like to take this opportunity to reiterate
that the Red Steel team is not a franchise that is based
in T&T....The team is not restricted to play its home
games in T&T."
This comment indicates that the Red Steel franchise
whether it is carrying the name T&T or not is not
guaranteed to be playing out of T&T.
Franchise sports, in this case cricket, is a new phe-
nomenon in the Caribbean. It represents a professional
league comprising of teams representing respective
cities. In the Caribbean it seems unclear at this
moment as to what necessarily constitute a franchise
in terms of its location based on the CPL CEO s com-
ment about the Red Steel.
The current league is now equivalent to all the
other leagues in Test playing countries such as the
IPL (India) and Big Bash (Australia). Previously, a
country represented the West Indies in the annual
Champions League playing against franchises from
the other Test playing countries.
As the concept is new to the region, it will take
some time to adjust. Even some of the radio com-
mentators are committing the error of calling the
games by country for instance Jamaica vs Antigua.
The organisers can help overcome this situation
by encouraging the development of a franchise support
base as is done in other professional sports through
the sale of franchise merchandize such as jerseys,
caps, flags, foam fingers etc. This will go a long way
toward separating country from franchise identity
and a win-win situation.
The importance of separating national identity
from franchise identity has been reinforced by the
WICB decision to reject the recommendation of free
movement of players by the director of cricket Richard
Pybus. Pybus claim is that such a move will improve
the standard of play at the regional level. However,
the argument put forward by the WICB is that such
a move would result in the national identities of the
countries being lost. Regional cricket has a rich history
of keenly contested inter-island rivalry and this history
and tradition must be allowed to continue.
It is important to remember that supporting any
event or idea does not mean that you have to agree
to everything. Principles must always be respected!
Sports has and will continue to be a strong source
of passionate national identity. All the best to our
national athletes who will be flying the national flag
at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Thumbs up for Anil, WICB
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