Luton Town CEO Gary Sweet: "It's safer for us to stay in the Championship"

Luton Town's Chief Executive Officer Gary Sweet Credit: PA

While discussions continue over when and how the SkyBet EFL season will resume, Luton Town say they want their Championship campaign played to a finish.

The Hatters may be second from bottom, and without a manager after parting company with Graeme Jones in April.

But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, staying in the second tier of English football will give them a better chance of dealing with the financial impact they face.

Luton's CEO Gary Sweet says they haven't started to consider possible replacements for Jones, with club legend Mick Harford acting as "a relationship manager on football matters" between the Hatters' board, staff and the playing squad.

Speaking on a Zoom video conference with local media, Mr Sweet outlined how vital it was for the club to play the season to a finish.

He insists, however, the bigger picture is 'society, first, football second and club third' as they prepare for the fall out from the Coronavirus which has led to professional football being suspended in England since March 14.

"If I was just looking to defend the club's position, then we would be doing everything we can possible to play games firstly, because that is the most likely way we're going to survive in the Championship. "It's safer for us, because we've got more central income coming into the club than League One.

Gary Sweet, Luton Town CEO

EFL clubs, including Luton, were advised not to return to training before May 25.

Mr Sweet says the first team squad is ready to come back, with the relevant protocols in place.

Although government guidance currently says no professional sport until 1st June, he is concerned about when games will start to be played.

"If we're not going to come back to train and potentially play in a month's time now, when are we ready? When is that point going to be? "What are the circumstances that are going to give us that opportunity to do that?"

Gary Sweet, Luton Town CEO

Meanwhile the Luton chief says they have little choice but to reset the club financially going forward, including a much reduced playing staff next season.

"We've got to completely reset our expectations going forward in terms of squad sizes and squad budgets. "We're the lowest paying club in the Championship. We might still be next season or the season after. But I think every club in the Championship will be looking to do that. "And there's a lot of talk about capping budgets on squads, so we'd be completely in favour of that."

Gary Sweet, Luton Town CEO