June 13, 2024

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Key Luton Town figure explains Burnley postponement & why the fixture wasn’t reversed

Luton Town made an early decision to postpone their first home game of the season against Burnley to avoid Premier League sanctions.

That’s according to Hatters CEO Gary Sweet, who insists supporters were always at the heart of their controversial decision to reschedule the fixture.

Vincent Kompany’s side were due to take on the Hatters on Saturday, August 19, a week on from their season opener against Manchester City.

But owing to the £13m worth of ground works at Kenilworth Road, the Hatters could offer no guarantees to the Premier League that the redevelopment would not impact the scheduling of the match at late notice.

Addressing the decision in an interview with talkSPORT, Luton’s CEO Gary Sweet admits it was a tough call but ultimately the right one.

“The postponement really is effectively about supporters,” Sweet said.

“The Premier League have effectively got an agreement with the Football Supporters Federation that they will give a six-week notice period for any postponements or any changes to the fixture calendar, so we were under a little bit of pressure.

“We have to either give a cast-iron guarantee that Kenilworth Road will be ready for that game and if at alater stage we found that there were subsequent problems, we technically could be under some kind of sanction from the Premier League. We want to avoid that of course, so we just took the sensible decision.”

Sweet added: “If this was the EFL, and no disrespect to the EFL, we’d have cracked on and played it.”First of all, we wouldn’t have been doing this work. But being in the Premier League just means

eyes of the world are upon you a little bit more.

“We’ve got to be conscious of what decisions we make and be a little bit more responsible for those. I think it was a responsible decision in the end and one that I thank Burnley for and I thank everybody involved for.

“You look at this type of project, you’d normally need half a year to deliver it, let alone a quarter of a year. Bear in mind we actually had the opportunity to get promoted last season, so we started the thought process 18 months ago.

“We are trying to deliver the impossible, far more than any other club has ever done. It is a gargantuan task that we’re trying to achieve, but we will deliver it and that’s why I apologise to supporters for the postponement.

“I know we’ll get some criticism for it, but we’ll take that on the chin. At the end of the day it’s the right call.”

Sweet did admit there was a chance of switching the fixture to be played at Turf Moor, with the return leg taking place at Kenilworth Road on January 13.

Explaining why that didn’t happen, he added: “It was an option, but if the shoe was on the other foot I probably wouldn’t want to come to Kenilworth Road in the middle of January.

“But, being sensible, we just wanted to keep the calendar as it was.

“We’ve got an opportunity where the international break isn’t too far away (weekend of September 9/10), so it will be played just after that we think.”

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