NFL (National Football League)

Will the home of football be sold to a Pakistani-born American? Jaguars owner Shahid Khan makes offer for Wembley Stadium

The FA confirms the flamboyant billionaire has made an audacious HK$8.8 billion offer to buy one of the world’s most famous grounds

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 April, 2018, 10:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 April, 2018, 11:00pm

Flamboyant Pakistan-born American billionaire Shahid Khan wants to buy Wembley Stadium – the home of football in England.

The Football Association revealed yesterday it had received an offer, thought to be worth a total of £800 million (HK$8.8 billion) – £500 million for the stadium and £300 million for the FA to keep the Club Wembley debenture and hospitality business.

Khan owns Championship football club Fulham and the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars in America.

“We can confirm that the FA has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium,” said an FA statement.

Khan has apparently struck an outline agreement with FA boss Martin Glenn to transfer Wembley to foreign ownership for the first time.

The shock proposal was being put before the full board of the domestic game’s governing body overnight.

The bid by Khan increases the prospect of an NFL franchise in London.

Wembley has staged regular-season NFL games since 2007 and the Jaguars started playing at the stadium in 2013 – the year Khan bought the Fulham club.

The Jaguars have a deal through to 2020 to play games in London.

“The games the Jaguars play at Wembley are essential to the financial stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, which is one of the smallest markets in the NFL,” Khan said.

“If my ownership interests were to include Wembley Stadium, it would protect the Jaguars’ position in London at a time when other NFL teams are understandably becoming more interested in this great city. And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars’ future will be in Jacksonville.”

Khan said a takeover of Wembley would “have no impact on Craven Cottage,” which is his soccer team’s current home in the Fulham district of west London by the River Thames.

Selling off Wembley would give the FA about £500 million to invest in grass-roots soccer, which could increase the chances of the England team winning their first World Cup title since 1966.

“For the FA,” Khan said, “it would mean Wembley Stadium returning to private ownership, permitting the FA to direct its full attention to its mandate to develop talent and serve the game with the vast resources it would realise from the sale.”

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.

Khan made his fortune in the car parts business.

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press