Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Luton lose appeal over 10-point deduction
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
'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 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
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
'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
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.'