Town chief: Financial rule breakers deserve to be punished

Hatters chief discusses points deductions in the Championship

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 3:48 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones insists that clubs who break the financial rules set out in the Championship are fully deserving of the points deduction that come their way.

Derby County became the latest side to be hit with such a penalty yesterday after going into administration, with owner Mel Morris reporting the club had suffered a £20m loss during the coronavirus pandemic.

That saw the Rams drop to the bottom of the table, with 12 points deducted, while fellow Championship side Reading are also rumoured to be on the verge of a punishment themselves for breaking Profit and Sustainability rules.

Town having suffered more than most in the past, deducted 10 points at the end of the 2007-08 season for entering administration, and then a further 30 the following campaign, 10 by the FA for irregular matters involving player transfers, and 20 by the Football League for breaking rules on exiting administration.

However, the Hatters are now one of the shining lights of how to be run in the modern game, as Jones said: “We have a structure so we work in our structure.

“I have heard rumours about things that have gone on at other clubs, but we can’t be drawn into that.

“What has to happen is that if there are a set of laws in place to protect the game, to protect one, the integrity of the game, but also the future of the game financially.

“Then if people break those, there has to be a punishment, there has to be the sanctions that are set out.

“Now if Derby and Reading have broken those and I don’t 100 per cent know as I haven’t got the proof in front of me, then it’s right that they get that because by mismanaging a lot of people will lose their job, a lot of people will suffer.

“That might be the case, I don’t know, but on us, as I can only speak on us, we’re run very well.

“We’ve got a fantastic chief exec (Gary Sweet) and a real good board, that run our club very tightly, they run it very well and we don’t overspend.

“We know we have a structure and we stick to within that structure and everyone’s expected as they know to work within that structure and we do that.

“We've been successful in terms of relatively successful up until now in terms of doing that and it shows we’re in a good place as we’re not laying off people.

“We’ve not got masses of redundancies, we’re not getting docked points, we’d like a few more points, but we’re losing points from conceding 95th minute equaliser, not for financial irregularities.

“So all I can do is say that I’m proud of our club, how we do stuff, it will be up to the EFL and the authorities to punish those who do and they should be as it’s not just the football club where they drop to the bottom of the league, there are lives at stake and if people play with that, then that’s what happens.”

When asked whether the rules in place and the deductions handed out will mean the Championship is more of a level playing field for the Hatters to compete in, Jones added: “That’s why we are able to compete as we’re run very well.

"We had very competitive budgets in League Two and League One, nowhere near the biggest, especially in League One, but we had competitive budget.

"Then what we do is set out to do a certain amount of work, so what we do is we recruit well, we recruit good players, ones that we can develop and then we believe we do good work to improve that.

"We have a structure of how we play, how we go about things and that’s what has got us relative success to this level.

"Now we’re on an uneven playing field, financial uneven playing field, so what we have to rely on is our organisation, our work, everything, our recruitment, all those things have to come together.

"It’s an enjoyable process to test yourselves, with 25 per cent of certain people's budget, it's really good to test yourselves.

"It doesn’t so much level the playing field, what it does is gets us closer in terms of how the club is run and then our work gets us even closer.

"Then on any given day we’re a match for anyone at this level.”