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Levy interview: Clubs have a duty to represent their community

T

ottenham chairman Daniel Levy believes football has seen a “significant change” in attitudes towards race in recent months.

Speaking to Standard Sport to mark the end of Black History Month, Levy urged the game to continue making progress following a period of introspection in football over diversity in the game, which has continued with Premier League players taking the knee before matches.

Levy insisted diversity is part of Tottenham’s DNA and said it was reflected in their record of employing BAME coaches, which continued this summer with the appointments of Ledley King and Chris Powell.

Levy, 58, said all clubs had a duty to “truly represent” their communities and that Spurs’s approach was shaped by being based in Haringey, the fifth most ethically-diverse borough in the country, where over 65 per cent of residents are from non-white British communities.

Levy told Standard Sport: “We’ve always been acutely aware of the need for diversity in everything we do, particularly as we operate in one of the most ethnically-diverse boroughs in London, so it was more a case that [recent events] made what we already do even more relevant.

“The recent events have given greater visibility to the issues of diversity and inclusion, and we must now ensure that we keep moving forward. I do believe we have seen a significant change in attitudes.

“As a club that has always championed diversity, it’s so important that we truly represent the communities in which we are embedded.”

Tottenham are among the 19 Premier League clubs to commit to the FA’s Football Diversity Code, announced this week, which aims to tackle racial and gender inequality in English football.

The signatories have agreed that 15 per cent of new executive appointments will be from a BAME background, with 30 per cent female and 25 per cent of new coaching appointments will be BAME, including 10 per cent of senior coaching appointments.

Spurs have a history of employing BAME coaches, including former caretaker manager Chris Hughton and Ugo Eghiogu, their Under-23s coach, who tragically died in 2017.

This summer, club legend King was name on Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff, while Powell was appointed head of coaching at their academy.

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Gareth Bale with Jose Mourinho and Ledley King

/ Pool via REUTERS )

Levy believes images of Powell working with young players and King prepping Gareth Bale for his Spurs debut against West Ham can have a huge impact.

“We have had many black and ethnic minority coaches at all coaching levels in the club,” said the chairman. “It’s simply been part of our DNA. And all have been awarded their positions purely on merit.

“We recognise the huge value they bring to the club and our players of all ages — not only for their coaching abilities, but also because they are role models for our younger players.”

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