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Convey decision - Chairman thanks fans and calls for overhaul of system

Posted on 31 August 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Chairman Daniel Levy has described the failure to secure a work permit for Bobby Convey as an 'injustice' - and called for an overhaul of the system.

Our application was turned down on Thursday despite Convey being seen as the brightest star of American 'soccer' and having 18 caps to his name already at the tender age of 20.

Work permit applications are judged on various criteria, including the amount being paid for the player, his wages, whether anyone of similar value is available in the domestic market and whether he has played in 75 per cent of his country's competitive internationals in the previous two years. Convey has played in 15 USA international matches in 2003 alone - more than any other American player, including our own Kasey Keller and Tim Howard (who has played in six).

Daniel Levy revealed that he has been inundated with calls and e-mails of support from disappointed fans since the decision.

He said: "Fans have contacted us with a feeling of injustice at not getting a work permit for Bobby Convey and we share their frustrations. We pulled out all the stops. We had the same legal advisors as Manchester United had for Howard, Glenn Hoddle went to the hearing and made it clear that Bobby was a player that he'd admired over a long period of time, that we'd actually played DC United twice, Glenn had watched him in internationals and here was a player who was going to go straight into the first team squad. On top of that we had countless testimonials from people who are well respected in the game supporting our application.

"I firmly believe that an injustice has been done and I urge all the bodies involved to review the system, as there are certainly several anomalies at present. This is not a question of sour grapes, simply a belief that the system must be reviewed. It is far too subjective in its current form as it literally comes down to the individual opinions of six people and as we know football is all about opinions. Set criteria have been applied in some circumstances and ignored in others. Unless the authorities, along with the Premier League and PFA come together to form a common view nothing is likely to change and that, unfortunately, is the reality of the situation.

"My personal opinion is that every club should be able to sign any player, from any country, provided they are over 18, thus protecting the academy system, which clubs in this country have invested heavily in developing over recent seasons.

"We are part of the European Union and UEFA, yet clubs in mainland Europe can secure work permits for foreign players on a far easier basis than clubs in the UK are able to. For example, in Holland and Belgium it is extremely easy to get a permit for a foreign player. Surely all European clubs should be competing on a level playing field? I believe there should be a European policy that doesn’t hinder the recruitment of worldwide talent into Europe.

“I want to reassure our supporters that we will not let this situation lie and will be pursing this matter vigorously until the system is made fair and equal for all clubs and players."