The deal to purchase the Webley stadium, the home of English Football has been foiled after Shahid Khan, the American businessman withdrew his bid.
The proposed £600 million ($788 million) purchase of London’s Wembley Stadium was supposed to provide much-needed grassroots football support of English Soccer but has been abandoned due to concerns about its divisive effect from some figures in English Football.
Khan already owns the NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars and English Premier League club Fulham.
‘The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them,’ Khan said in a statement on Wednesday. He made his offer public to the English FA in April, a decision that sparked a lot of sentimental debates.
The bid received the support of FA Chief Executive Martin and the FA had pledged to invest the proceeds in English grassroots football. But former English defender, Gary Neville while speaking in a British Parliamentary hearing in July called the plans ‘a short-term plan we’ll regret forever.’
Glenn revealed Mr. Khan made the offer because he believed ‘that it would be well received by all football stakeholders,’ in a statement.
‘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 has decided to withdraw his proposal,’ Glenn added.
Wembley stadium was originally opened in 1923 but reopened in 2007 after a multi-million dollar rebuild. It hosts both Football and NFL games, including one each year by Khan’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Many have conjectured the Pakistani born Kahn plans to eventually relocate his NFL team to London and the purchase of Wembley stadium may be the first move towards that end.
Khan is the 217th richest person in the world. And made his fortunes by developing auto parts.
‘I cannot rule out revisiting the opportunity at another time when perhaps the Football Association family is unified in its views on the opportunity,’ Khan added.
In 2013 he bought Fulham, a London-based soccer club that was promoted back into the Premier League in May by winning a play-off final at Wembley.