The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

LUTON Town had an event­ful run in this sea­son’s Check­a­trade Tro­phy, even­tu­ally los­ing to Ox­ford United in the semi-fi­nals.

The Hat­ters were also fined £15,000 for break­ing the com­pe­ti­tion’s rules in the group stage.

They breached Rule 7.3 – not start­ing with at least five play­ers who started the league fix­ture im­me­di­ately be­fore or af­ter the Tro­phy game, or the five play­ers who had started the most league and cup matches to that point in the sea­son.

Luton went with their young­sters and, iron­i­cally, picked up £20,000 in prize money af­ter win­ning 2-1 at League One side Gilling­ham and beat­ing Premier League West Brom’s Un­der-21s in their open­ing two matches.

The Hat­ters lost 3-1 at home against Mill­wall in their fi­nal group out­ing.

Sweet said: “The com­pe­ti­tion, as it was, ei­ther needed scrap­ping or re-in­vent­ing. The no­tion of lower league teams play­ing Premier League Un­der-21 teams is a good one from a foot­balling per­spec­tive. It helps our game. There are some ben­e­fits to come out of that.

“My con­cern is that low­er­league teams should be un­re­stricted in who they play, es­pe­cially as the prin­ci­ple of the re­struc­tur­ing was to pro­mote young tal­ent.

“Our ma­jor beef with it right now is that we are un­able to pro­mote our young­sters with­out at­tract­ing heavy fines.”

Sweet sug­gests free ad­mis­sion for chil­dren and stream­ing of games to help boost the com­peti­ti­ton’s pro­file and be­lieves the Premier League also need to fully play their part.

He added: “They have paid their way to come in and I think they should pay more. It’s in­cred­i­bly valu­able for them. We are look­ing to re­dis­tribute foot­ball’s in­come and here’s a way of do­ing that. The one-year trial has been half suc­cess­ful and half un­suc­cess­ful. There is a lot to take from it and a lot to learn.”

LESSONS: Gary Sweet

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