Tottenham have moved to “apologise unreservedly” for their part in the failed European Super League, including the way that they plotted behind the backs of their fans. Yet they suggested it was a necessary evil because the legal constraints of their involvement prevented them from being open.
The club also said they had signed up only to a “framework agreement” that they hoped would evolve into something workable following dialogue – most “crucially” with supporters. They said they should have “challenged and reconsidered” the closed shop nature of the proposed competition, which stood to see them and 11 other clubs guaranteed entry regardless of their domestic results.
Spurs have made a conciliatory gesture towards their fanbase by announcing the creation of a club advisory panel, comprised of elected representatives, with the chair appointed annually to the board as a full non-executive. But the club criticised the Supporters’ Trust, which has called for the chairman, Daniel Levy, and his board to resign, for a refusal to meet with them.
“We have seen football fans around the world come together to show their strength of feeling regarding the future of the game we all feel so passionately about, with strong views expressed on the proposed establishment of a new European Super League,” Spurs said in a statement.
“It’s important to underline that we entered the ESL with the expectation that the format, rules and structures would evolve through dialogue with key parties, namely the Premier League, FA, Uefa, Fifa and, crucially, fans. It should never have been conveyed with certainty when it was in fact a framework agreement for consultation going forward.
“We should have challenged and reconsidered the annual access system. We wholeheartedly regret that we involved the club and that the legal process itself meant we were unable to consult our fans early on – we apologise unreservedly.”
Spurs said they had learned lessons from the fiasco, leading them to allow for the greater fan representation. They also “fully support the government review into football governance”.
On the Trust, they said: “We are disappointed that the board of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust [THST] has not yet met with the club. The THST, with whom we have worked and, indeed, promoted, for 20 years has called for the resignations of the executive board over the ESL – individuals who have lived and breathed this club for the best part of two decades.
“We have offered on several occasions to meet board-to-board and discuss an open agenda – excluding a change of club ownership and the resignation of the board. Our door remains open on this basis.”