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GARY SWEET | 'CLUBS WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS'

The chief executive spoke to the local press yesterday...

24 March 2020

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet has said that the reality of the global Covid-19 pandemic means that some clubs will go out of business - and called on Town supporters to help their club now by purchasing season tickets for 2020-21 to help ensure we return to action in the best possible shape.

Speaking to the local press yesterday on video call from home, Sweet was asked whether he thinks the current situation will prove catastrophic for some clubs and whether it will be a turning point for football's finances.

He replied: "A turning point, yes. Catastrophic, yes. When we resume I will guarantee you that there won’t be 72 clubs in the Football League [taking a normal season into account]. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not 20 in the Premier League. This is going to hurt some clubs very very badly, very very quickly.

"We’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that we can get through, if we look at the worst possible case scenario is that we don’t have a game again all this season, and our season is cancelled, we then have to get through to next season before we start bringing an income in, and that’s what we are working on at the moment.

"The plan always is to try and keep the business intact without having to necessarily to lose people or resources that rely on us for their income. But that is going to be pretty difficult to achieve."

The Town's current league position in the Championship relegation zone is not even in the lifelong Hatters fan's thoughts, when considering whether the current campaign will be played to completion.

"I have to say at the moment it is really the farthest thing from my mind," he said. "Actually it’s really inconsequential where Luton finish or what league we’re in next season, if there isn't a next season. We have to keep football intact.

"This is actually about, first of all, the safety of our public, our communities, of the NHS workers and everybody out there. And secondly making sure that the business of football, the industry, remains intact so we can all come back and actually play games at some point.

"We are confident that down the line we will get this season finished and we will get the next season finished. Absolutely. But, in terms of cancellation of this season, is that a possibility? Yes. There is a great deal of sense to that too, in order to wipe the slate clean, let’s move onto next season. I totally get the argument. But the priority must be to keep this season intact."

Gary was then asked to provide a message of hope for Luton Town supporters for when the current crisis is over, and he urged them to do what they can to help the club's current cashflow by purchasing season tickets for next year, as they normally would at this stage of a campaign.

Looking ahead to 2020-21, he said: "I am more confident that next season is going to be finished, firstly. I think the focus has to be on next season’s calendar.

"I am also confident that somehow, by hook or by crook, we’ll finish this season. I don’t think it will be by May or June, and it will certainly go through the summer, but I’m confident – so look forward to it.

"And you know what’s really important for us at the moment, and I realise and appreciate that everybody’s personal situation is quite different and everybody is quite concerned about their own personal circumstances.

"But if you can afford to buy a season ticket, please do, because that will help enormously in keeping Luton Town Football Club together and ready and raring to go when we can come back."

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