On May 27, 2023, Luton Town beat Coventry City 6-5 in penalty kicks to be promoted into the top flight of English soccer. The small English town with a population of just under 300,000 residents watched in excitement as their local soccer club reached heights not seen before. This is the first time Luton Town will be in the English Premier League since its creation in 1992. They will face some of the biggest teams in the world next season, such as Manchester City, Liverpool, & Arsenal, playing in front of crowds reaching 60,000 to 70,000 in attendance. With all the excitement, though, the team now faces new challenges, and meeting the requirements of the Premier League will be tough in such a short time. This article will focus on the upgrades needed for Luton Town’s stadium to be “Premier League” Ready.
Luton Town’s stadium, built in 1905, currently sits within the heart of the town with a capacity of 10,356. Comparatively, the average size of Premier League stadiums is a capacity of 41,051, the largest stadium being Old Trafford in Manchester with a capacity of 74,140. The stadium itself is surrounded on all sides by residential buildings and even one of its main entrances is directly under apartment units. Luton Town Chief Executor Gary Sweet met with BBC Radio’s Today programme to talk about how they are going to address these issues.
Mr. Sweet stated that they plan to spend up to 10 million pounds specifically to get the current stadium ready for next season, which is only roughly 3 months away. Mr. Sweet also discussed building an entirely new stadium. The soccer club has been preparing to build a new 23,000-person stadium and began planning back in 2019. With all these new plans for serious renovations to the current stadium and plans to build a new stadium, will this be enough to be “Premier League” ready?
The Premier League issues a handbook each year detailing things from what teams are in the league, to more detailed rules and regulations regarding every aspect of the league. The handbook has specific stadium requirements, some of which are as follows: the stadium needs to be properly leased or owned by the club as per English real estate law, any renovations to the stadium must be approved by the Premier League Board of Officials, and even regulations on how to specifically maintain the field to ensure players safety. The handbook further details even having specific parking and entrances for away teams that are on the opposite side of the home team to prevent conflict. Building the new stadium will not only have to meet all English zoning and building laws but also the requirements of the Premier League Board of Officials. The question still remains if Luton Town’s stadium will be able to handle the thousands of visiting fans each weekend, but only time will tell.
Evan Lautato, Rising 2L at St. John’s University of Law School, 1L Representative for the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, www.linkedin.com/in/evan-lautato-a4bb14178