EFL ask Luton for '˜observations' on Checkatrade Trophy changes

Luton Town have been asked by the EFL to submit their '˜observations' about the club's team selection for the Checkatrade Trophy group stage matches.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 11:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:49 pm
Zane Banton was one of 11 changes made by Luton against West Brom
Zane Banton was one of 11 changes made by Luton against West Brom

Hatters boss Nathan Jones made 11 changes for the first match at Gillingham, where Town won 2-1, and continued with that policy against West Bromwich Albion at Kenilworth Road last night, swapping his entire team from the one that drew 1-1 with Cheltenham on Saturday.

When launching the new format of the Trophy this term, which saw Premier League academy teams join up for the first time in a much criticised pilot scheme, the EFL issued a set of rules which stated clubs were required to play their strongest side during matches, with a minimum of five ‘first team’ players in the starting 11.

Anyone not doing so may face a fine of up to £5,000, something Luton could be hit with once the group stages are completed as a statement from the club read: “We have been asked for our observations on our team selection, which have been submitted to the EFL.

“The EFL will consider the matter after the group stage has been completed (after 8th November) so the outcome and any potential fine remains TBC.”

When launching the competition, EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “The new format is intended to rejuvenate this competition and also assist the development of the very best young players in English football.

“This will help us deliver more and better home grown players which will deliver benefits to the national team and domestic league football at all levels.”

By handing debuts to six players who have come through their academy in the two matches to date, then it can be quite feasibly argued that Luton have done exactly what the tournamenet set out to achieve.

There can be no question the club have weakened themselves in anyway either, as two wins from two, including beating a Baggies side containing two full internationals, and qualification to the next round with a game to spare, would suggest.

When asked for his thoughts on any potential financial penalty coming their way, Jones said: “If anyone’s watching this competition, that’s as good a performance as they’ll see tonight, I don’t care what results have gone on anywhere else, as a group of young players, that’s as good as you’ll see, so if you want to get fined, then lets call it a ridiculous fine.

“We’ve treated the competition with the respect it deserves. There’s talk of we’ve swapped and changed, but anyone from Checkatrade, or the EFL, or the FA, who want to see a group of top, young players play, they have a look at that and then decide if there’s going to be any kind of fine.”