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Tottenham fans submit restructure plans to Levy

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust has sent a plan to chairman Daniel Levy regarding a restructuring at the club.

The supporters' trust wants to ensure the club are keeping their promises regarding fan representation in the boardroom.

Spurs made the promise after their initial decision to join and subsequent withdrawal from the European Super League.

Spurs could be set to establish a club advisory panel made up of supporters, who would have a representative on the board as a non-executive director.

"We note and welcome the proposals for future fan engagement at board level at THFC set out by the club in its statement of 11 May 2021 and, in particular, its stated desire for any future structure at our club to set the standard for the game," the statement from the fans group read.

"We have taken the time to research the issues and consult with a number of our members who have expertise in the fields of corporate governance, business and law, and we wanted to set out how we think your initial ideas can be built upon for the benefit of all of us.

"THST welcomes the commitment to introduce fan representation at Board level. However, we believe the Club's initial proposals need refinement before they can be said to deliver genuine fan representation or set a benchmark. It is worth noting that the Club's proposal does not specify which Board this representation is to be on, and also that the current structure of governance at the Club may be required to change as a result of the Government's fan-led review. A mechanism would need to be introduced that required the main Board to approve decisions taken by any subsidiary companies.

"When fans talk about representation at board level, they mean representation on a board that takes strategic decisions about the direction of the football club, and the ability to influence what is taken into account when making decisions. The current structure of THFC does not provide a clear picture of how various parts of the business are linked together, and we believe greater clarity in the structure and ownership of THFC is a prerequisite for any improved system of governance.

"It is our belief that the football club, the stadium, the training ground, and commercial operations directly connected with the football club are the areas on which supporters seek to have a voice, and that one Executive Board – with independent Non-Executive Directors and a Fan Director – should be responsible for decisions relating to those areas.

"The question that must be asked in relation to any proposals is "would these changes have prevented club hierarchies from signing up in secret to a European Super League or similar initiative?". We appreciate and understand that commercial confidentiality must apply to some conversations. Our proposal to establish a two-tier structure of a new Executive Board plus a Supervisory Board directly addresses this issue.

"Members of both Boards would be subject to confidentiality in the necessary circumstances, but the requirement for the Executive Board to seek approval from the Supervisory Board for general principles would prevent a repeat of a situation in which the Executive Board pursued a course of action that is not backed by the fan base. If Directors, including Fan Directors, are required to act in the best interests of the Club, they will not break confidences in a manner that would damage the Club, and if there are any transgressions there is ample provision under current company law to deal with offenders.

"In addition, the inclusion of a Fan Director and two independent NEDs on the Executive Board, with legal responsibilities to prioritise the wider interests of supporters, would provide a further check and balance.

"Having outlined some general principles, we will now clearly set out our detailed recommendations. We believe they build on THFC's original proposals, and if adopted would embed robust fan representation at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The Government review will set the baseline for future fan engagement across the game, and so it's important to emphasise that we are aware any agreement will need to meet the standards that review sets down when it delivers its final recommendations in October.

"Our hope is to agree, with you, an in-principle framework that can subsequently be put to Trust members for approval. This would then form the basis for any final implementation of a representative structure following the Government review."

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