On this day in 2018: Fulham owner Shahid Khan withdraws bid for Wembley Stadium

American Football – NFL International Series 2013 – San Francisco 49ers v Jacksonville Jaguars – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Matthews)

Fulham owner Shahid Khan withdrew his offer to buy Wembley Stadium on this day in 2018.

Khan had offered £600million for the national stadium with the Football Association retaining the Club Wembley hospitality rights, which it valued at £250m to £300m.

But the offer was withdrawn after the plan became “divisive”.

Pakistani-American billionaire Khan, also the owner of the NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars, said his wish was to strengthen the English game and unite people.

The deal to sell Wembley fell through in 2018

The deal to sell Wembley fell through in 2018 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

But the proposed sale of Wembley collapsed due to the strong objections of some councillors to the home of English football being sold off.

Khan said: “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.

“Our commitment to London would have been amplified and strengthened with the certainty of officially making Wembley Stadium an annual host to Jaguars or other NFL games.”

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “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 he has decided to withdraw his proposal.

Gary Neville criticised the deal

Gary Neville criticised the deal (Mike Egerton/PA)

“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.”

Glenn said the deal would have provided an “unprecedented amount of investment” into community football and was not selling the “soul of the game”.

But former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville had criticised the sale plan, saying: “The FA feels to fund the grassroots programme, they have to sell a national asset – it’s quite simply ridiculous.

“Don’t sell Wembley when you can place a levy on agents’ fees.”

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