The U.K. Football Association has agreed to sell Wembley Stadium to businessman Shahid Khan for £600 million (US$ 789.6 million), pending a vote Thursday by the F.A.’s governing board, the Financial Times reports.
Khan already owns the English Premier League’s Fulham Football Club and the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars and announced his Wembley bid in April.
Wembley is the home of the English national soccer team and Khan said it would continue to be so in a statement earlier this year. Khan also reassured Fulham fans that he has no plans to sell or otherwise invest less in the club.
The Jaguars have already played American football matches at Wembley Stadium once a year. “The game we play in London is significantly more profitable than an average game in Jacksonville,” Khan’s associate Mark Lamping told The Guardian this summer. That helps support the team’s presence in Jacksonville, which is a small market by N.F.L. standards. London is a gateway to a bigger market, Lamping said: “Only 3% of the people who attend at Wembley are American ex-pats. Only about 35% are from London. So you have a high percentage of people who travel for more than 150 miles.”
The F.A. would still be the anchor tenant at Wembley and have special rights governing its use, co-tenants, and proceeds from any subsequent sales, with clawback provisions in case of poor management, according to the FT. The F.A., whose wider council include representatives of the country’s amateur soccer leagues, will invest its earnings from the sale on developing grassroots soccer talent in England.
The nation could use it. The English national team came painfully close to glory during this summer’s World Cup but hasn’t won since 1966.