Luton Town part ways with manager Jones and staff amid pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Middlesbrough v Luton Town - Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Britain - February 15, 2020 Luton Town manager Graeme Jones takes a walk around the pitch ahead of the match Action Images/Craig Brough

(Reuters) - Luton Town have terminated the contracts of manager Graeme Jones and his staff as the English Championship (second-tier) team grapple with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club said on Friday.

Professional soccer in England has been suspended since March 13 due to the new coronavirus with several clubs putting non-playing staff on leave or using the government Job Retention Scheme to temporarily help pay staff during the stoppage.

Luton said assistant manager Gary Brabin, first-team coach Inigo Idiakez and technical goalkeeping coach Imanol Etxeberria also had their contracts terminated with immediate effect.

"Given the current circumstances affecting not only football but the world as whole, the club are taking an early move to restructure in order to reduce its cost base and to create efficiencies within the football department," Luton said in a statement

"The board would like to place on record their thanks to Graeme for his efforts over the last twelve months. We wish him and his family well during these difficult times for everyone, and in his future career."

Luton also said they would not be considering applications for the vacant positions until they had a clear idea of when the season can resume.

"When we have more concrete knowledge about the recommencement of the 2019-20 season or the start of 2020-21, we will then reconsider our position with regards to the football management structure," the club added.

Luton were in the relegation zone with 35 points after 37 games before the season was suspended, six points from the safety zone with nine games remaining.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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