Caribbean eyes professional league for 2015

Wed Nov 6, 2013 8:32pm EST

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(Reuters) - A professional Caribbean soccer league, dubbed Major League Football, is expected to launch in September 2015 with the aim of developing young players and growing the game in the region, organizers said on Wednesday.

The Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL) said in a statement the league would feature 20 teams competing for $3 million in prize money, with that figure set to rise to $5 million after the first three years.

Jeffrey Webb, president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), said last month that a commission would be set up to examine the feasibility of such a league.

CFTL chairman and CEO Chris Anderson said there had been evaluations of soccer in the Caribbean for over a decade and that the league would help serve the interests of the players and the sport as a whole in the region.

"It is all about football and not the politics of the sport," he said in the statement.

"We welcome the Task Force and look forward to sharing with them our views on how best to achieve this league and provide our regional players with a source of revenue."

A total of 31 nations make up the Caribbean Football Union, including associate member Bonaire and three on the South American continent: Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana.

Only four Caribbean countries have appeared at the World Cup finals in its near 84-year history: Cuba (1938), Haiti (1974), Jamaica (1998) and Trinidad & Tobago (2006).

(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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