LONDON; Oct 17, 2018: Shahid Khan, the Pakistani-American businessman, has withdrawn his offer to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association, reports Keir Radnege.
Khan, the owner of Premier League Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars of American gridiron’s NFL, had offered £600m which had been promoted positively to the FA board by chairman Greg Clarke and ceo Martin Glenn. However many members of the larger, supervisory FA Council were not convinced.
Under the terms of Khan’s offer the FA would have retained the income from Club Wembley hospitality which it valued at £250m to £300m.
Clarke and Glenn believed the sale, with built-in guarantees for all English football’s main events including England matches, would have provided the prospect of a massive, one-off investment into grassroots football.
However complications included the fact that the FA is still paying off the loans to redevelop the stadium and would have to hand back around £150m in grants from national funding.
The 127-strong council had been due to vote on the sale next Wednesday after ‘thinking time’ following a presentation by Glenn last week.
However it quickly emerged that some members of the board were reticent to be rushed into a deal, others believed that keeping Wembley represented a superior long-term revenue source and others were opposed in principle after all the controversy which the original purchase of the stadium had aroused in the 1990s.
Glenn said today: “At a recent meeting with Mr Khan he expressed to us that, without stronger support from within the game, his offer is being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be and has decided to withdraw his proposal.
“Wembley Stadium is an iconic venue that is revered around the world and it will continue to thrive under the ownership and direction of the FA.”
Khan, who had talked of one day moving the Jaguars to Wembley, had told the FA said he wanted “to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them.”
He added: “Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favoured by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.
“Until a time when it is evident there is an unmistakable directive from the FA to explore and close a sale, I am respectfully withdrawing my offer to purchase Wembley Stadium.”