The local franchise participating in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament has dropped T&T from its name and will now be known only as the Red Steel. The decision was met with great surprise by team captain Dwayne Bravo and other players, with Bravo expressing his dissatisfaction with the change during a press conference after the opening match of the tournament in Grenada.
“When I went out to do the toss against the Barbados Tridents, I was told that we cannot use T&T before the Red Steel name again. I was shocked and I thought it was a joke but I was told so officially.” CPL T20 official Gillian Power sent out the following message after the announcement was made by Bravo. “Yes we can confirm that the CPL changed the name of the Red Steel based on a request from the Minister of Sport.”
The request came from Sport Minister Anil Roberts. Bravo said: “When the players found out, they were really upset and they could not understand the move behind this. I am personally going to continue to use T&T Red Steel and if I get into trouble for that, I will deal with it then.”
Yesterday afternoon, the Sport Minister released a statement explaining the reason for the change. In it, he said the name T&T was reserved for citizens and nationals of the country, adding that the T&T brand was for the exclusive use of national governing bodies that are recognised by the Government and citizens as the representatives in a particular sport. He said these bodies were funded by the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company of T&T and chose athletes based on the criteria that they are citizens of T&T.
As such, he added, the T&T brand could only be used by national teams chosen by the T&T Cricket Board. The release continued by stating that since the CPL is a private for-profit organisation that builds team franchises consisting of players from around the world, it could not use T&T's name in order to “distinguish their Red Steel franchise.”
“Nowhere in the world are sport franchises given country names. The IPL, the NBA, the EPL, the NFL and all other franchises carry the name of a city or region, eg. Mumbai Indians, Boston Celtics, Manchester United, New Orleans Saints. If this were not so, we could possibly see James Rodriguez or Cristiano Ronaldo or Andrea Pirlo or Yaya Toure suiting up for Argentina in tomorrow's (yesterday's) World Cup finals. So the position is clear, and will continue to be clear for centuries to come, that the brand T&T is owned by a sovereign nation and can only be attached to teams that are 100 per cent comprised and representative of citizens of the Republic of T&T.”