Luton lose appeal over 10-point deduction

July 15, 2008

The leader of the consortium behind the takeover of troubled Luton insists the Football Association's rejection of their appeal against a 10-point penalty marks the 'lowest point' of the club's 122-year history.

The Hatters were docked 10 points and ordered to pay a £50,000 fine earlier this month by the FA for breaching regulations over payments to agents.

That penalty was followed last week by a further 20-point penalty from the Football League after the club exited administration without agreeing a Company Voluntary Agreement to leave the club in crisis.

Luton were attempting to wipe out the FA's penalty but a hearing in London refused to overturn the decision this afternoon.

Gary Sweet, managing director of the LTFC2020 group, is adamant that the club are being unfairly punished for the mistakes made by previous owners but insists they will stay afloat despite their massive deficit.

He said: 'Of course we are devastated once again.

'We know that all the penalties we face next season are a direct result of the atrocious management of the club from 2003 until November of last year.

'We are directly paying for the sins of the actions of the previous directors.

'However, now is the time to stand united. Our great club needs the support of the fans more than ever.

'We are at the lowest point in our history but we will get through this.'

An FA statement said: 'The deduction of 10 points was a heavy sanction, as it was intended to be, but was not excessive as a reflection of the seriousness of the breaches and the need to deter such conduct within football clubs.

'It is highly unfortunate for Luton Town and their loyal fans that shortly after the FA regulatory commission reached its decision the Football League quite separately imposed a 20-point deduction for entirely different actions by the club.'

The decision was met with dismay by a small band of fans gathered at the hearing, with the chairman of the Loyal Luton supporters club branding it as 'disgraceful'.

Kevin Lennon said: 'The real facts have not been analysed and the right decision has not been reached. I'm staggered.

'I thought common sense would prevail and the guilty perpetrators would be the ones found guilty.

'Where do we go from here? We have obviously been shown that the regulators have no time for the smaller clubs of this country but we will roll up our sleeves.

'Whether it is minus 10, 15 or 30 points, we are big enough to stay up this season and I am sure that we will do.

'There were some big names in football willing to stand up for us and say that the sentence was completely unjust but the FA have turned a blind eye.

'They have let football down today.'

Margaret Moran, MP for Luton South, was equally frustrated by the decision which leaves Mick Harford's side staring at relegation from the Football League.

Last season 43 points would have been enough to survive in League Two meaning that Harford must somehow coax around 73 points from his side next year to prevent a third successive relegation.

Moran said: 'We are all furious and flummoxed. We cannot understand how two bodies who are charged with oversight of football have combined to effectively kill off a good community club.

'Sure, Luton Town has had its problems but most of them are attributable to the previous owners not the current consortium or fans.'