Sweet reveals out of contract Hatters could still play for Luton
Luton chief executive Gary Sweet has confirmed that measures will be put in place to allow Town’s out of contract players to turn out for the Hatters should the season, as expected, not finish until after their deals were originally due to expire.
Luke Berry, Danny Hylton, Callum McManaman, Glen Rea, Elliot Lee and Marek Stech will all be free agents this summer, along with Lloyd Jones and Jake Jervis, who are currently out on loan at Northampton Town and Salford City respectively, while Town also have options on Donervon Daniels, Jacob Butterfield and Kazenga LuaLua, who signed 12 month contracts in the summer.
However, with the campaign postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, there were fears some players might not be prepared to turn out for their sides any more, if they were to run the risk of putting their own futures in doubt.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Sweet said: “They are out of contract, which is an interesting debate in itself, when do they become out of contract?
“Strictly speaking it’s going to be the end of June, but the season will be extended beyond that.
“There will be a mechanism in place to allow us to extend those contracts if we can afford it, and the mechanism in place for those players to be allowed to extend their contract and play for Luton if they wish to do so.
“There are a number of other players that we also have an option on, they’re strictly out of contract.
“Forget the younger ones, like the under-18s, under-20s that we do we review every year or release every year.
“Putting those aside, those first year pros, I think we’ve got three or four that have options, including the likes of Donervon Daniels, Jacob Butterfield and Kazenga.
“They’ll be our decisions as to whether we take them forward and, clearly, at the moment we’re not having any discussions with any players for next season because we don’t know quite (enough).”
Any such decisions on new contracts beyond the current season will only take place once Sweet knows exactly what kind of shape Town’s finances are going to be in.
He added: “One of the things we’ve got to do here is put together another completely new budget and while footballers are the most expensive component of our cost base, they are also, in some ways, the most important.
“So, we know it is our intention to try and keep the squad together as much as possible, of course.
"We’ve got a great group of lads, we’ve got some great footballers, but as an officer of the company and a director of the company, I’ve got judiciary responsibilities as well, so I’m not allowed to overstretch this business.
“At the moment, I could not commit to anything further until we’ve redone that budget and we know that when income is going to be taking place.”