Shahid Khan has claimed that his takeover of London’s Wembley Stadium from the English Football Association would provide the organisation with funds to support a bid to host the FIFA World Cup.
Khan, who owns NFL American football team the Jacksonville Jaguars, submitted a bid for England’s national football stadium last week and he hopes to conclude a deal with the FA by August.
The Jaguars currently have a multi-year deal in place to play an annual game at Wembley and Khan views purchasing the 90,000-seat stadium as in the best interests of all parties.
In an interview with the BBC, he said that the move would not only provide support for a World Cup bid but also open the door to Wembley possibly hosting a future edition of the Super Bowl, the season-ending showpiece of the NFL which has never been hosted outside of the US. Khan did stress that it would be “premature” to discuss such a proposal.
“Our role would be to provide a world-class venue,” he told the BBC. “(The FA) will have a pool of money of about £600m that can be invested into the core mission of the FA, which is English football and their ultimate goal of winning a World Cup.
“Wembley is a great stadium and you want to get it configured to hold Super Bowl and World Cup finals.”
Khan also confirmed that the ‘Wembley’ moniker would be retained should a deal be done. “Wembley is the essence, the cradle of English football,” he said. “We would very much like for England matches and cup finals to be played at Wembley, that is the DNA.
“We want to keep the original mission of Wembley alive. Frankly, that’s what gives Wembley its value.”
Khan added that the prospect of a roof being fitted at Wembley would also be explored, while Premier League club Chelsea would be welcome to use the venue during the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.
Image: Matt Churchill