Luton Town Football Club has reluctantly requested that its first home match of the 2023/24 season against Burnley is postponed from the scheduled date of Saturday 19th August.
Kenilworth Road is undergoing a programme of extensive ground improvements to be ready to host Premier League football, including the construction of a new stand to meet broadcast and media requirements.
Whilst ongoing work is progressing extremely well and currently ahead of schedule, the Premier League understandably requires guarantees to its fixture schedule within sufficient time to advise supporters and broadcasters of any changes in advance.
Due to the extent of the project, the Club cannot absolutely guarantee supporters that any future unforeseen issues would not cause any delay potentially impacting upon the scheduled opening game at home.
Therefore, together with the Premier League and Burnley FC, all parties felt this was a sensible outcome which gives supporters of both teams sufficient time to plan for what will now be a free weekend and subsequently make arrangements for travel for the new date.
The new date will be shared by both clubs to their supporters at the earliest available opportunity.
Luton Town Chief Executive, Gary Sweet, said: “The joint decision to delay this fixture is regrettable, especially given the amazing progress that continues to be made on our construction works; our current programme is indeed on time, but there is no additional contingency and therefore can’t give a cast-iron guarantee at this stage that a problem outside of our control, however minor, wouldn’t force a postponement further down the line and inconveniencing supporters of both clubs.
“Although this news will be a disappointment, this will make the matchday experience even greater for fans when they do get to come back.
“We would like to thank the Premier League and Burnley for their help in arriving at this practical decision.”
The postponement means that should the Hatters not be drawn at home in the second round of the Carabao Cup, the first home match of the new campaign will be the visit of West Ham United on Friday 1st September an 8pm kick-off live on Sky Sports.
Sweet explained further: “All works being carried out have been carefully planned to minimise disruption for our neighbours during the construction period and minimise impact on match-days.
“We would particularly like thank our neighbours in the local Bury Park community who are showing so much understanding with the work taking place on their doorsteps. Without their support this whole process would be so much tougher.
“Additionally, we would like to take this opportunity to give our gratitude to our very supportive Council in helping us with community engagement to allow our time and efforts to focus on minimising timescale and disruption. As I have mentioned before, the challenge for our relatively small business has to scale up so quickly is a such gargantuan task in every aspect that is taking every minute of our day and every ounce of our energy but, together with our excellent team of specialist contractors, we know the end result will all be worthwhile.
“Looking positively, as well as the required work to make our stadium compliant, which the Premier League are being so supportive of, we are also making a number of non-mandatory improvements to Kenilworth Road in both home and away areas that will that will improve the matchday experience for everyone, particularly for home and away disabled supporters, broadcasters, journalists and supporters in certain areas of the ground, and this does mean these works should also be complete in time for the new date.”
The Club would like to reassure supporters that we are collaborating with the local council to ensure that the community are fully informed with the latest developments.