Wembley sale deal to be put to FA Council vote at special meeting in October after ‘full facts and figures’ presented

Liam Twomey
The Independent

The proposed £600 million deal to sell Wembley Stadium to Fulham owner Shahid Khan will be put to an FA Council vote later this month after the “full facts and figures” were presented on Thursday.

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke and CEO Martin Glenn are both in favour of the deal, which was approved in principle by the FA Board at a meeting in September.

But it is understood that many FA Council members harbour serious doubts about the long-term benefits of the sale, which the FA argue will take the expensive running costs of Wembley off their hands and allow them to ramp up investment in grassroots infrastructure.

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Further doubts about the deal have been raised by Fulham’s former assistant director of football Craig Kline, who on Monday tweeted that he possesses “evidence of systematic corruption relevant to the Wembley vote” from his time working under Khan.

Wembley would become the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Franchise (EPA)
Wembley would become the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Franchise (EPA)

Fulham reject all of Kline’s claims, which are being reviewed by the FA, and the process of consultation with FA Council members will continue at a special meeting on 24 October.

“Today’s FA Council meeting included a presentation and healthy discussion on the potential sale of Wembley Stadium,” an FA spokesperson said. “The full facts and figures of a £600m investment to improve community football facilities in England were outlined.

“The presentation also included detailed information on the commercial deal that has been discussed, including the protections that will be in place to ensure its status as the national stadium and the home of English football.

“A special meeting has been scheduled on Wednesday 24 October for The FA Council members to vote on the potential sale. The FA Board will then take these views into consideration.”

Under the plans, Wembley will host Khan’s Jacksonville Jaguars’ London games, while England are set to play their autumn internationals at other stadiums around the country. But Wembley will continue to be the host of the FA’s biggest games, including England’s biggest games, and the FA Cup final, one of the “protections” the FA has sought from Khan.

In a statement, Khan said: “I appreciate the time and consideration of the FA Council today in its review of my Wembley Stadium proposal. As I’ve expressed in writing to the FA Board and members of the FA Council, an agreement will provide exceptional opportunities to invest in the game while ensuring that Wembley Stadium will forever be the national stadium of England, the undisputed home of English football and unquestionably one of the finest venues in the world.

“I am committed to a partnership with the FA that will realise longtime resources for and benefits to the game and an extraordinary experience for all who will play in or visit Wembley Stadium for many years to come. In that spirit, I look forward to continuing to work with the FA Board, FA Council, Sport England, the Mayor of London’s office and DCMS in the weeks ahead.”

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