Wembley deal ‘could take eight to 12 weeks’, says Fulham owner Khan

International Finance, sports


Wembley deal ‘could take eight to 12 weeks’, says Fulham owner Khan


Shahid Khan bought NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011

Fulham owner Shahid Khan says he hopes a deal to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association will be completed in eight to 12 weeks.

Khan, who also owns NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars, has made an offerthought to be worth £900m.

It is understood he would pay £600m for the stadium and the FA will continue to run the £300m-valued Club Wembley hospitality business.

“This offer makes a lot of sense for us,” he told BBC Sport.

“When I say us, I’m talking about the Jaguars, NFL, Wembley, and I think it also makes a lot of sense for the FA and the English football team.

“I’m pretty confident – that’s why we’re putting our name, our reputation on the line to get it done.”

Khan said England games would remain at Wembley and he would retain the stadium’s name.

BBC Sport understands selling Wembley would allow the FA to make a major investment into football at grassroots level.

Pakistan-born Khan has a current net worth of $7.2bn (£5.2bn) and is the 217th richest person in the world, according to the 2018 Forbes rich list.

He said he understands fans’ concerns over his offer for the 90,000-seat stadium, which is the largest in the United Kingdom.

“I think they have to understand the value and the attraction for myself,” Khan added.

“We’ll leave the tradition and the stadium itself. Even though this is a new stadium, it does need upgrades.

“Under this arrangement the FA retains the right, the revenue, and that is really the most positive part of Wembley for the FA. So they will be retaining it and obviously we want it to be there.”

The 67-year-old added that the deal would make lead to “more meaningful discussions” over a permanent NFL franchise in London.

“NFL has been playing in London since 2007,” he said. “Until now, NFL doesn’t have a stadium solution or have a home. And it can’t work with a Premier League club, because of the schedule. It does work very well with Wembley, so I think it makes it closer.”

According to the FA’s latest financial results, it still owes £113m to public bodies such as Sport England, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, plus the London Development Agency, which helped pay to build the stadium, which cost £757m and opened in 2007.

In January, the FA said it would finish paying for the ground by the end of 2024.

In a statement, Sport England said it had invested £120m of National Lottery money into the development of Wembley and it looked forward to “hearing more detail about how such a deal would work and whether it would benefit grassroots sport”.

‘It could be a positive move’ – reaction to Khan offer

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman: “This process is at an early stage and it’s ultimately a decision for the FA. But Wembley is the historic home of English football and holds a very special place in the hearts of fans up and down the country and I’m sure the FA will want to strongly consider the views of these supporters before deciding what to do next.”

Labour Shadow Sports Minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan: “The FA should not rush into any deal to sell and any deal must guarantee that England continue to play at Wembley as well as around the country; that major tournaments, cup finals and play-offs for multiple sports are still held at Wembley; and that ticket prices for England games are frozen for 10 years. The FA needs to guarantee that profits of the sale will be put into grassroots football to ensure that future generations will benefit.”

Hodgson would be ‘disappointed’ if England stopped playing at Wembley

Crystal Palace boss and former England manager and Roy Hodgson:“I am a massive supporter of Wembley as the national stadium and England playing there but I also have great faith in the FA that they won’t be making decisions lightly. If they think that is a good deal, a deal that will bring in money that they can spend in a better way, then I would be behind that.”

Former England captain and BBC Sport presenter Gary Lineker on Twitter: “If the money goes towards grassroots football, most importantly on pitches, artificial and otherwise, for youngsters to play then it could be a positive move.”

Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal, who guided Sheffield Wednesday to the 2016 Championship play-off final:“I think they are monuments and we can’t sell them in my opinion. If you sell Wembley you can sell Big Ben and Buckingham Palace? We can’t sell monuments, it is culture, and you can’t sell culture.”

Chairman of Matchroom Sports and former Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn: “Unless there’s a very good reason why it shouldn’t be sold, frankly the laws of commerce take over. It’s he who has most will win. I would be saddened but I would be realistic enough to say it’s life in the current system.”

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April 26, 2018 at 12:15PM


Wembley sold: What does it mean for England, Tottenham, Chelsea and the NFL? — The Sun

News, sports

WEMBLEY is set for an incredible £1billion sale to Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan. SunSport answers all your questions on what it means for England, Tottenham, Chelsea and the NFL… Wembley is set to be sold for £1bn to Fulham owner Shahid KhanGettyWhen could the sale be done? The FA Board only received details…

via Wembley sold: What does it mean for England, Tottenham, Chelsea and the NFL? — The Sun

When could the sale be done?

The FA Board only received details of Shahid Khan’s offer this morning and the process will take weeks and possibly months. In the short-term, nothing will alter.

Will things change swiftly?

The FA Cup Final next month will still be played at Wembley, as will England’s World Cup warm-up game with Nigeria on June 2.

The FA have already scheduled the November 15 friendly with the USA for the National Stadium but have yet to confirm the venue for the September friendly with Switzerland or the home games against Spain and Croatia in the new Nations league that starts in September.

What does it mean?

Wembley chief executive Martin Glenn believes the proposed deal is a game-changer for English football, releasing funding for grass roots development that would otherwise be inconceivable.

The endowment fund for future grass roots projects will bring £500m into the development of the game at all levels, allowing better facilities, more coaches and opening up more opportunities for girls and women to play.

Are we going to get “McDonald’s Wembley”?

The FA have demanded that Khan agrees the ground remains known as “Wembley Stadium”, at least for now.

That suggests naming rights are not immediately on the agenda, although it keeps alive the possibility of “Wembley Stadium, sponsored by Panasonic” or whomever.

Will the FA Cup Final be moved away from Wembley?

Absolutely not. Khan is keen to ensure the marquee events held at the ground will continue to be staged there.

That includes the FA Cup Final and presumably the EFL Cup Final and play-off finals, as well as the majority of England home games.

But it could see the semi-finals reverting to “neutral grounds” like Old Trafford, the Emirates or Villa Park in the future, preserving Wembley for the Final.

One factor against that is that only Wembley can house 90,000 supporters.

Does this mean an NFL franchise in London?

It certainly looks that way, especially as the FA are preparing to send the England team “on the road” round the country for the autumn games if fixtures clash with Jaguars home games in the NFL schedule.

Khan will presumably have already have consulted with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about his plans but any relocation of the franchise would still need to be approved by a vote of the 32 NFL team owners.

Taking a franchise out of the USA for the first time will be a big and controversial call, although it would open up the entire European market given the easy transport links to London.

But aren’t the NFL moving to Tottenham?

The NFL have certainly funded part of the cost of the new Spurs stadium at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy signed a 10-year deal to play two NFL matches per season at the new stadium last year, separate NFL-sized dressing rooms are being built in the East Stand of the 62,000-capacity ground and the grass pitch will be rolled out to allow NFL matches (and concerts) to take place on the artificial turf below.

From Twin Towers to the Arch for £757m

Wembley selected as preferred site by Sport England for new national stadium.

Nov 1998
Project handed £120m lottery funding by Sport England.

Sept 2002
Old stadium demolished as government stumps up £20m in return for more control. WSNL secures £433m in bank loans for a project with revised cost of £757m.

Oct 2002
Construction finally begins on new Wembley Stadium.

March 2007
Work is finally completed at total cost around £1billion – over twice the £458m price quoted. Multiplex make £150m losses, later suing engineering consultants.

May 2007
Football returns to Wembley after almost seven years. Didier Drogba’s extra-time winner gives Chelsea 1-0 victory over Manchester United in FA Cup final.

Whether this means more games in London in addition to Jacksonville’s home matches is less clear but Levy will have signed a deal with cast-iron financial guarantees.

What about Chelsea – aren’t they going to move to Wembley?

Wembley was certainly the most likely option for the Blues as they embark on the £1billion-plus revamp of Stamford Bridge, although that is now now expected to start until at least the 2019-20 season, if not a year later.

Chelsea need to find a home for four seasons but the demands of the NFL fixtures from September through to the end of December – and beyond if the Jags secured home advantage for the play-offs – would appear to scupper that possibility, adding problems for Roman Abramovich and his board to overcome.