English FA in talks to sell Wembley to Fulham owner

Shahid Khan who also owns Jacksonville Jaguars understood to have offered £500m

The English FA have received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

The English FA have received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

 

The Football Association has announced it has received an offer to buy Wembley stadium. The bid has come from Shahid Khan, the owner of Fulham and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Khan is understood to have offered around £500m to purchase the national stadium and under the deal the FA would retain the rights to Club Wembley, its debenture and hospitality business, understood to be worth around £300m.

The FA Cup final and semi-finals would stay at Wembley if a deal with Khan, which is said to be in its early stages, goes through. It is understood the FA would be keen for the stadium’s name to continue to include the word Wembley under the terms of any sale.

The money from a deal would be ploughed back into grassroots football by the FA, notably on pitches. If the governing body accepts Khan’s offer, it would clear its remaining debt from the rebuilding of the stadium and free the FA from the financial burden of running Wembley.

The stadium cost around £830m to rebuild, considerably above the projected amount. The FA said in a statement: “We can confirm that the FA has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium.”

Khan stressed that Wembley would remain “home to the England national teams” and that Fulham would stay at Craven Cottage in a message to the club’s fans. “The Football Association would be able to focus on its core mission of developing players with the best player developers and facilities anywhere in the game, thanks in part to the vast financial benefit that would result from the transaction,” he said.

“I trust many, if not most of you, are also supporters of the England national teams, so I hope you welcome the potential of this becoming a reality. Always know Wembley would be home to the England national teams, and that we would strive every day of the year to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic and beloved here and throughout the world.

“To be clear, this venture is 100 per cent independent of my investment in and operation of Fulham Football Club, Motspur Park and Craven Cottage. No less attention will be paid to developing players and fielding a squad that will win with frequency and always make you proud. It will have no impact on Craven Cottage as the home of FFC.”

Jacksonville would play NFL games at Wembley if Khan buys the stadium. Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice-president of events and international, said: “We are very happy for Shad Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The potential purchase of Wembley stadium is a further powerful sign of their commitment to the UK and their vision to help us grow the sport.

“Having stadium options in London has always been critical to the NFL and, in tandem with our 10-year partnership with Tottenham Hotspur, this new relationship would allow for even greater flexibility in scheduling future NFL games in London.”

(Guardian service)

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