Insider trading charges against Spurs owner Joe Lewis come at a time of turmoil at Tottenham

In Premier League rules strengthened in March, being convicted of corruption would disqualify someone from owning or controlling a club.

But Tottenham insist Joe Lewis should no longer be described as their owner while fighting charges in the US.

A change quietly made last year saw Lewis officially cease to be someone with “significant control” of the club. There was no public tribute from the club or celebration of their owner since 2001.

He held more than 70% of the shares in ENIC – the company ultimately owning Tottenham.

But in October 2022, Tottenham updated the company register to say: “A discretionary trust of which certain members of Mr J Lewis’s family are potential beneficiaries ultimately owns 70.12% of the share capital of ENIC.”

On paper, Lewis stepping aside appeared to be succession planning by the north London club. It is understood the trust is managed by two independent trustees on behalf of Lewis’s family.

The family link clearly remains even if the 86-year-old patriarch no longer has official control and the club has not knowingly sought to correct references in recent months to him being the owner.

Joe Lewis

Image: Joe Lewis

Was that to avoid shifting the spotlight on other members of the Lewis family?

It is Daniel Levy most visually associated with running Tottenham as the Premier League’s longest-serving chairman.

But he only owns just under 30% of ENIC with family members through trusts.

The insider trading charges facing Mr Lewis come at a time of turmoil for Tottenham.

There is uncertainty over the future of prime playing asset Harry Kane – with the striker able to leave for free next year when his contract expires unless the lifelong Tottenham player is sold this summer.

His frustrations with the club reflect those of the fans over the lack of silverware.

Just one trophy has been won under the ENIC ownership and that was long before Kane was playing – the lesser achievement of the League Cup in 2008.

File photo dated 23-09-2022 of England's Harry Kane with the One Love armband. Discussions over whether Harry Kane will wear a 'OneLove' armband against Iran remain ongoing just hours before England's World Cup campaign gets under way in Qatar. Issue date: Monday November 21, 2022.

Image: Harry Kane

Spurs are in a downward spiral and missing out on revenue.

They failed to qualify for any European competition for the first time since 2009 – just four years after the unexpected high of reaching the Champions League final.

There is not only more than £600m of debt to service after moving into a new stadium in 2019.

Clubs with Gulf state investment have overtaken them – most recently with Saudi-owned Newcastle qualifying for the Champions League.

Qatari state-linked investors from Paris Saint-Germain had been pursuing buying into Tottenham last year.

But Tottenham have given no public indication they are for sale.

And of Lewis being indicted, they say: “This is a legal matter unconnected with the club.”

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