Martin Glenn, the chief executive of the English Football Association, has said that selling Wembley Stadium to US billionaire Shahid Khan could enable the body to spend more than £1bn (€1.1bn/$1.3bn) on community-focused initiatives.
The FA council met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss Khan’s offer, which is said to be worth in the region of £600m. Khan submitted the offer last month and it is expected that the deal will be given the go-ahead.
The FA owns Wembley, which opened in 2007. Selling it would reportedly allow the body to invest a significant amount of money in grassroots football. Glenn said yesterday that the offer would enable the FA to “unleash an unprecedented amount of investment into community football”.
“By 2030, just over 10 years from the completion of a potential sale, we could have invested over £1bn on community football facilities – and still have a £450m capital fund untouched,” Glenn said, according to UK newspaper The Guardian.
According to Glenn, some of the £1bn would be generated by further match funding for facilities improvements.
The Guardian said that some FA council members have opposed the proposed sale of the stadium but Glenn added: “Receiving an offer to sell Wembley Stadium is not a betrayal. It is not selling the soul of the game. What we have in front of us is simply an opportunity.”
Khan owns NFL American football team the Jacksonville Jaguars and newly-promoted Premier League football club Fulham. The Jaguars have a multi-year agreement in place to play games at Wembley.