The English Football Association (FA) has said it is investigating allegations of wrongdoing made by a former employee of Shahid Khan as a date of October 24 was set for a vote on the American businessman’s takeover offer for Wembley Stadium.
Craig Kline, who was last year dismissed from his role as assistant director of football operations at Fulham, the Premier League club which Khan owns, on Monday met with the FA after claiming to be a whistleblower with unspecified information which he says is related to the Wembley vote.
Kline wrote on Twitter: “Dear FA Council … I have key evidence of systematic corruption relevant to the Wembley vote which I’d like to submit. Please request this info from me.” Kline’s tweet on the social media platform was accompanied by hashtags including “fraud”, “racism”, “kickbacks” and “minors”.
However, Khan has dismissed the claims, with his spokesman, Jim Woodcock, telling the Associated Press news agency: “This is nothing more than the same ongoing nonsense and bogus claims made by a former employee who left the club in 2017. Nothing here merits a further response.”
The FA board last month announced that the proposed sale of Wembley would be presented to the FA Council in October. The sale of Wembley to billionaire Khan was discussed by the FA board on September 27, with the negotiated protections and an outlined plan to invest £600m (€673.6m/$786.2m) into football community facilities having also been presented at the meeting.
The deal is worth £600m in cash and £300m in future revenue from Wembley’s hospitality business. Khan also owns NFL American football team the Jacksonville Jaguars, which plays an annual regular season game at Wembley. He submitted an offer for Wembley back in April, and negotiations have since been held over the terms of the deal.
The FA Council will discuss the terms of the agreement at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) ahead of the final vote on October 24. FA executives will make their case over why they are backing the deal, but a senior FA source told BBC Sport that the board believes the odds are slightly against the agreement being given the green light due to the strong objections of some councillors to the home of English football being sold.
The FA Council is composed of representatives of the Premier League, Football League and county FAs. While it has no authority to stop the deal, the FA board is said to be keen to secure a clear mandate for the takeover to go ahead.