Hatters boss believes Euro 2020 postponement due to coronavirus pandemic could help Town finish the Championship season

Town manager is hopeful campaign might be concluded in the summer
Hatters boss Graeme JonesHatters boss Graeme Jones
Hatters boss Graeme Jones

Luton chief Graeme Jones believe that the postponement of Euro 2020 for a year could help the current football season reach a conclusion this summer.

The EFL suspended the campaign last week until April 3 at the earliest due to the coronavirus outbreak, although it looks extremely unlikely the season will be able to start up again then.

European football's governing body, UEFA, then took the decision yesterday to move the Euro Championships back 12 months, as it will now run from June 11 to July 11 next year.

With the 2022 World Cup being staged in Qatar from November 2022 to December 2022, Jones, who was on the coaching staff for Belgium as they finished third at the tournament in 2018, said: "If we’re talking about Euro 2020, I know what it’s like for the top players.

“The top players have a tournament, then two weeks off and then they go for another 50 weeks, so I think it was the sensible decision to take, because really you're looking back-to-back tournaments as in Euros and then the World Cup.

“But on this occasion, the Qatar World Cup was planned for December, for the winter, so it actually gives them a summer to play with to an extent where normally it would be back-to-back tournaments.

“I think it was the sensible decision, it still gives us at the minute, time to finish domestic seasons.

“I don’t think anybody has got a crystal ball in front of them and knows where this virus is going to go, how long it’s going to exist for, how incapacitated we will be with it.

“It’s like everywhere else, we’re all second guessing.

"But at least they’ve made a slot now if the season is extended, that there is that possibility, but how long’s a piece of string?”

The Hatters had two players looking to be involved in the tournament, striker James Collins (Ireland) and goalkeeper Simon Sluga (Croatia).

Speaking earlier in the week, Town chief executive Gary Sweet felt postponing was the only real possibility, saying: "It just cannot go ahead can it.

"These are unprecedented times and it's a real shame for those players, as we've got a couple who have got international call-ups and this is their opportunity to show on a big stage.

"I feel sorry for those boys, but it just can't go ahead can it.”

Playing games in the summer might also benefit the players, with experts believing the coronavirus will have had its peak by then, as Jones continued: “It will make a different virus, they say the virus doesn’t like the heat, so that might be able to help.

"But this minute in time, we’re ready for whatever comes our way and if we have to play, we’re ready to play.

"That’s all we can do, prepare that way.”

Meanwhile, Jones felt that the decision to suspend the season taken last week was the only outcome available to the EFL after the virus began to grip the country.

He added: “We’re in an industry where sometimes sport is the be-all and end-all, but there’s nothing more important in this world that the health of any individual and their families.

“That decision was taken in the best interests of every individual in the country and their health and well-being comes way before sport and that is an absolutely priority at the minute.

“So yes, I was delighted with the decision really.”