FA confirms offer made to buy Wembley Stadium
- Author: Joey Payne Apr 27, 2018,
Apr 27, 2018, 5:15
Auto parts tycoon Shahid Khan - owner of Fulham FC and the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team - is understood to have struck an outline agreement with FA boss Martin Glenn to transfer the "home of English football" to foreign ownership for the first time.
For Khan, the attraction appears to be expanding the National Football League into London and ensuring the Jaguars have pre-eminent rights to be the team who play there.
The team now play some regular season matches in London at Wembley and Twickenham.
FA representatives remain reluctant to give too many details regarding the proposed offer away, releasing a statement saying, via the Independent: " We can confirm that the FA has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium".
If a transaction does happen, Fulham will still be playing at Craven Cottage but this affects Chelsea's plans to temporarily locate to Wembley during the renovation of Stamford Bridge.
Local MP and shadow global trade secretary Barry Gardiner was equally hostile to the bid: "Let's not see our National Football Stadium traded away in a backroom deal".
Said Khan in a statement: 'We would strive to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic'.
So far, it's understood that the businessman has tabled an upfront offer of £500m for the stadium, which was completed in 2007 and designed by Populous and Foster + Partners.
Tottenham have played their home Premier League games at Wembley this season while work on White Hart Lane takes place.
Wembley, which has a 90,000-capacity, was reopened in 2007 after the FA´s seven-year, £757 million rebuild of the home of English football. Over the past several years, it became clearer to us and the FA that the idea of our purchase of Wembley Stadium made a lot of sense for all of us.
The stunning proposal, which would also see Khan allow the FA to keep lucrative debenture and hospitality revenue worth around £300 million, was put before the full board of the domestic game's governing body on Thursday.
It so happens that Wembley is located in a part of London with a huge Indian-origin population.
He added: "And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars' future will be in Jacksonville".
Tottenham's new White Hart Lane ground will provide further evidence of London's importance to the NFL, as it is also set to include a retractable American football pitch, ahead of the start of a 10-year deal to host at least two NFL games a season.
The home of the English national soccer team could soon be in the hands of a different kind of football investor. And this is imperative to know, and I encourage you to spread the word - absolutely nothing changes in our plans to redevelop the Riverside Stand'.