Luton confirm they won't be taking part in EFL test event against Derby County
No fans to be allowed in for Championship clash with the Rams
Luton have confirmed they will not be allowing supporters back into Kenilworth Road for this weekend's Championship clash against Derby County.
Chief executive Gary Sweet stated earlier this afternoon that Town had withdrawn their application to be considered as one of the test events for the pilot scheme as they weren't being given enough time to get ready by the EFL.
The EFL then announced at 1pm that the Hatters game, plus nine other EFL matches could allow 1,000 fans to attend, but speaking exclusively to the Luton News, when asked if they would go ahead with the pilot event after all, Sweet said: "No. We wrote to them at 8am this morning telling them we'd need to get confirmation immediately.
"We had an 11am deadline. We heard nothing until they put out their statement.
"One thing we absolutely need is time to ensure that we manage everything safely.
"The limited time the EFL gave us (with no prior communication to even give us a hint) was too tight for us to ensure that we could stage everything perfectly."
Meanwhile, a club statement on the official site said: "Luton Town Football Club would like to clarify the situation with regards to the ‘return of fans’ pilot programme starting this weekend.
"On Tuesday at around midday, having received an email from the EFL asking for clubs to volunteer to take part, we put ourselves forward.
"We responded within the hour because, like many clubs, we are desperate to have our supporters back inside Kenilworth Road.
"To stage a game with supporters here would take a lot of preparation time, and unfortunately, despite asking again from very early this morning, we had heard nothing from the League until a few minutes before they issued their statement stating that we were one of the clubs taking part.
"Sadly, this does not give us enough time to get ready so we are unable to host spectators here for the Derby match.
"We understand that the EFL are beholden to DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), but to request clubs to offer and then not back up quickly, knowing there is such little time to prepare, is very disappointing and we are sorry to disappoint supporters who may have raised hopes of attending Saturday’s match.
"We remain committed to working with the EFL, DCMS, SGSA (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) and local authority to getting our wonderful supporters back inside the Kenny as soon as is safely possible."