Checkatrade Trophy: Team selection fines 'stunt young talent', says Luton Town manager

Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones has been manager of Luton Town since January

Luton Town manager Nathan Jones has accused the English Football League of "stunting young talent" by having rules regarding team selection for matches in this season's EFL Trophy.

The Hatters were one of 12 clubs fined on Wednesday for failing to field a 'full-strength' team in the tournament.

League Two Luton were fined £15,000 along with Portsmouth, who will appeal.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said she was "appalled" by Pompey's fine and will write to the EFL.

Jones, who has previously stated he would pay any fine Luton incurred, described their punishment as "unbelievable".

"The EFL talk about wanting to encourage clubs to play young English talent, but it seems they only want clubs to play young English Premier League talent - not talent that we have here," the 43-year-old told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"We have tried to win every single game - we won two out of three games. All the EFL have done at the minute is stunt young talent."

The competition has been revamped this season with the introduction of 16 development sides from the Premier League and Championship.

Non-development clubs had to field five players who started the previous or following game - a reduction from six last season - or five who had made the most appearances this term.

The rules are different for the academy teams, with six of the starting XI having to be aged under 21.

EFL 'failing to deliver', says MP

Like Luton, Portsmouth were fined £5,000 for each of the three group games they put out 'weakened' sides.

In a statement on social media, Mrs Drummond MP said she would be writing to EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.

"This is a competition which has been boycotted by fans, promotes fixture congestion, and is failing to deliver on its stated aim of 'promoting young players'," the statement said.

"I hope the leading position the club has, as an organisation owned and financed by the fans, will encourage the EFL to listen."

Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke - whose side were fined £3,000 - told BBC Radio Bristol: "I don't like anybody telling me what team I can pick.

"I'm very angry, very disappointed, like a lot of clubs in this situation. I'm hoping we're going to appeal against it (the fine).

"I think it's been a fantastic competition over the years and it's been farcical this year."

The Globe Arena, Morecambe
Matches in this season's Checkatrade Trophy have been hit by low crowds

Gary Bowyer's Blackpool were punished for subbing goalkeeper Sam Slocombe against Everton's U21 team after 13 minutes.

The Seasiders' boss told BBC Radio Lancashire: "I was staggered really, the rules don't tell me when I can make a substitution.

"They need to put their hand up and say they've not given this competition enough thought and lets make improvements for next season if it is to continue."

'It's only three games a season'

Other managers have voiced different opinions in recent weeks, including Plymouth boss Derek Adams.

"It's giving the youngsters in the Premier League sides, who are the elite players in this country an opportunity to play against men's teams competitively in stadiums, and it's only three games in a season," Adams said on 10 November.

"Is it beneficial for a League Two side? It's probably not.

"But I can see why they're using this system to try and get better English talent."

An EFL statement said: "All of the offences punished were due to a failure to meet competition rule 7.3 of fielding a full strength team in and during all matches.

"The EFL did take into account a number of mitigating factors and also considered transgressions that were not within the spirit of the rules."

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