England's Football Association may offload Wembley Stadium for $2 billion. Picture: AP
England's Football Association may offload Wembley Stadium for $2 billion. Picture: AP

FA offered $2 billion to sell Wembley

ENGLAND'S Football Association is in negotiations to sell Wembley Stadium, the home of the national football team, to US billionaire Shahid Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team.

A spokesman for the FA confirmed it had received an offer to buy the stadium. British media said the deal could be worth up to $2 billion.

Under the plan, the FA would keep Wembley as the main venue for major matches, including England internationals and the FA Cup Final.

But the national football team could play elsewhere in October and November due to clashes with the NFL season.

In a statement Khan said his bid was not a precursor to moving the Jaguars, who have played one home NFL game per season at Wembley since 2013, to London permanently.

"For the Jaguars, it would deliver another - and very significant - asset and local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London," said Khan, who is also the owner of English second tier football team Fulham,

"Today's news changes none of what we envision for the long-term promise for the Jaguars here in Jax, and it changes nothing as to the goals we have for your downtown."

The 90,000-seater stadium was rebuilt at a cost of $1.5 billion on the site of the original ground where England won the World Cup in 1966.

 

Shahid Khan owners the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham.
Shahid Khan owners the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham.

The new stadium opened in 2007 and the FA said last January it would repay its debt, which was reported by the Evening Standard to be $278 million, by 2024.

The money from the sale of Wembley would allow the governing body to reinvest in the English game's grassroots, particularly pitches, and stage more England games away from the capital, a plan to which it is already committed.

An FA delegation, including England coach Gareth Southgate, attended the Super Bowl in Minneapolis in February.

Khan said: "I've enjoyed a rewarding relationship with The Football Association for years and my more recent exchanges and time spent with (chief executive) Martin Glenn have served to further strengthen a connection with the FA that made it natural and ultimately possible for both parties to consider this transaction.

"Should we be fortunate to close on the purchase, it's important to stress that the spirit and essence of Wembley would be unchanged. Wembley is a special place, beloved in London and known throughout the world."