Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and the potential of his new European Club Association role

By Alasdair Gold

Daniel Levy's strange year has taken another new twist with his appointment to the board of the European Club Association.

This step puts Levy and Tottenham directly among the powerbrokers at the top table as the ECA is the body that representatives most of the continent's clubs in discussions with UEFA.

For Levy it's another turn in a turbulent year that has seen him get involved in the Super League fiasco and then have to perform a U-turn, part company with Jose Mourinho and face small pockets of protests inside and outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium about his running of the club from disgruntled fans.

The summer then saw him restructure the football side of Spurs to change things up with a new managing director of football in Fabio Paratici swapping Juventus for the Premier League, and the appointment of a new head coach in Nuno Espirito Santo.

He also managed to keep star striker Harry Kane and his stance over the England captain's future, with a frustrated Pep Guardiola calling him a "master negotiator", curried favour with most Spurs supporters ahead of the new season.

A smiling Levy was shown last week at the same Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where he would have heard some fans calling for his head after last season's defeat to Aston Villa.

This time he was reflecting on Spurs sitting top of the Premier League table following the first month of the campaign and his new set-up thus far working well.

Now Levy has received the support of his counterparts in getting elected to the executive board of the ECA as the Premier League's representative to fill the spot left by Manchester United's Ed Woodward, who will be leaving his role as the club's executive vice-chairman at the end of this year.

Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano pulled out of the race against Levy for the vacant spot, reportedly, when it became clear that the Spurs chairman had the backing of most Premier League members.

It is quite the turnaround after Spurs were one of nine of the 12 clubs involved in the Super League controversy that had to ask with cap in hand for their resignation from the ECA to be withdrawn. City, United, AC Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Liverpool were the others.

For those wondering exactly what the ECA do, it labels itself as "the sole, independent body directly representing football clubs at European level" and "the voice of clubs".

It was formed by the merging of the G-14 group and the European Club Forum in 2008 and with 230 clubs under its banner is a powerful player in the game, with various working groups looking at the operation of competitions, finance, marketing, academy football with expertise in legal aspects of the game, financial fair play and committees to oversee topics such as employment in the sport and women's football.

Levy was officially appointed to the board on Tuesday alongside Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid CEOs Alessandro Antonello and Miguel Angel Gil at the ECA's two-day general assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The current president of the ECA is PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and as well as hitting out at the overloading of the current international fixture schedule, his address to the assembly did not hold back in its attack of the failed Super League attempt.

"The “not-Super League” was defeated through integrity, togetherness, and protecting the interests of every member of our European football community," he said.

"These values need to define the ECA every single day. Every club is respected equally at the ECA and sporting merit based on open competition has been the foundation of our system – clubs of all sizes deserve a chance to chase their dream in open competition.

"These values can never be compromised. In addition, once the clubs agree on something at the ECA, we will stand by our word."

That Levy, Antonello and Gil have been taken back into the fold and put on the board shows that while the Super League fiasco harmed the trust between some clubs, the positives that the trio can bring outweigh that.

While some Tottenham fans have a rocky relationship with Levy due to the lack of silverware over the past two decades and the club's efforts in the transfer market at times, it's difficult to ignore that the infrastructure built at the north London outfit is something most clubs around the world would love to imitate.

Spurs have built a new stadium and training ground that are up there at the pinnacle of football and they have done it without the vast finances of the cash-rich 'super clubs'.

With carefully-managed debt, Tottenham are a club that are structured for the long-term and that's something that's ever more important following a pandemic that has obliterated finances across the game.

Just five months after the Super League debacle, when the club felt it was just too risky to be left out, Spurs and Levy now have their seat at the top table of European football and he needs to make the most of it not only for Tottenham Hotspur but the Premier League.


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