Hatters boss calls for some urgent 'clarity' over Premier League points deductions

Town chief doesn’t want to see appeals run beyond the end of the season
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Luton boss Rob Edwards has called for some urgent ‘clarity’ regarding the points deductions handed out by the Premier League recently, with the appeals process meaning teams could be in the ridiculous position of not finding out their fate until after the campaign has finished.

Relegation rivals Nottingham Forest were given a four point penalty for breaking profit and sustainability rules last week, as although an independent commission concluded that they should be docked six in total, that was reduced by two because the club admitted the breach and fully cooperated throughout the process. It meant that Nuno Espírito Santo’s side dropped into the relegation zone, with Luton moving above them, although the former European champions have since appealed the outcome.

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That now means the final date for any hearing to be concluded is May 24, which is five days after the final ball of the top flight season has been kicked, with Luton at home to Fulham on May 19 and Forest going to Burnley. It gets even more complicated though, as fellow strugglers Everton, who have already been deducted 10 points this term, reduced to six, are also awaiting the outcome of an FA charge for their second breach of the rules.

Hatters boss Rob Edwards - pic: Liam SmithHatters boss Rob Edwards - pic: Liam Smith
Hatters boss Rob Edwards - pic: Liam Smith

With such uncertainty surrounding the run-in, Edwards just wants to know the ever-changing landscape to be confirmed once and for all, saying: “It’s something we’ve got to live with as it’s not like anyone’s going to listen to us and say Luton aren’t happy about it, we’d better change it. We’ll deal with it, I’m sure every club just wants clarity, that’s all we want, clarity as soon as possible really.

"I think the hardest bit will be after the final whistle on the last game of the season. No-one really wants that because you want it to hopefully be a celebration and it’s brilliant, we know where we’re at. Whatever club’s in that situation, to maybe have to wait four or five days before knowing your fate will be very, very difficult, but if that’s what it is, it’s not like we’re going to be able to change anyone’s minds anyway. It just is what it is, but ultimately we want clarity and clarity as soon as possible, so everybody knows where they stand.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Monday Night Club this week, Town winger Andros Townsend described the current predicament as ‘nonsense’ and fears it will make a ‘mockery’ of the Premier League. Although not using quite as strong language, Edward felt it could definitely have been handled better, as he continued: “It’s unique, it's different.

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"I used the word mental in an interview. If it goes beyond the end of the season, I think that’s the bit that’s going to be challenging for everybody. It is unique and I know everyone’s talking about it as it’s happened to two football clubs in a season. It’s not happened before and the stakes are so high, the Premier League now, the money is huge. I know the lads will talk about it, but it’s not something when we’re sat in here as a group, it’s not something that we’re going to say, right, we’ll bank on this, we can’t.”

With nine games to go, Luton have a huge chance of deciding their own future by picking up the points required to finish outside of the bottom three and not have to worry about what may or may not happen come mid-May. That’s the aim for Edwards, as he said: “We’ve got to try and make sure it is in our hands. There’s enough points available to us to be out of that conversation, I know that’s really difficult for us as we’ve got a lot of tough games to go.

"Our aim and I’m sure everyone’s aim is that come the final whistle on the last day of the season they’re not involved in that situation and they've got enough points by hook or by crook, but if it does go beyond, we’ll deal with that if and when it happens. It’s not something we think about, we’re aware, of course we’re aware of it, who’s not?

"We can only control what we can and that’s trying to get as many points as possible. If we don’t then it doesn’t really matter what goes on, points deductions or not, appeals and being successful or not. It’s a really strange situation, it’s difficult to talk about because it’s not happening directly to us, but obviously we’re involved in it.

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"We won’t really know what it is going to take, but what we've got to try and do is finish above them (Forest), that’s all we can try and do. We’ve got to make sure that we’re in that mix, so if we don’t do our job and we don’t get the points required, then we’re not in that mix and it doesn't matter at all.”

Although Edwards doesn’t want to witness any side suffer a points deduction, if that is what it takes for the Hatters to get a second season in the highest tier of English football, he would accept it, adding: “We’d take it any way, of course we will, but I don’t think anyone likes to see it. I’ve got to say that and I don’t want to be the ones that are ‘oh you’ve stayed up because of that’ either. What we need to do is make sure that we try and remove ourselves from the conversation by trying to get enough points.

"The position we’re in at the moment that’s going to be tough but we’re in the fight and we’ve got to keep working the right way, keep believing. No-one wants to see that but there are rules and everyone’s got to try and adhere to that as well. So there is that side of it as well. I know it’s a massive talking point, but all we can do is look after ourselves and try and win games.”