Fulham owner Shahid Khan has maintained that the English Premier League football club remains fully committed to its Craven Cottage home with redevelopment work scheduled to commence in May, as further reports emerged concerning his takeover bid for Wembley Stadium.
The Council of the English Football Association will today (Thursday) hear from senior FA executives concerning why they think Khan’s proposed deal for Wembley is in the interests of the national game.
Earlier this week, the FA said it was investigating allegations of wrongdoing made by a former employee of Khan as a date of October 24 was set for a vote on the American businessman’s takeover offer for Wembley.
Craig Kline, who was last year dismissed from his role as assistant director of football operations at Fulham, on Monday met with the FA after claiming to be a whistleblower with unspecified information which he says is related to the Wembley vote.
Speaking to The Independent newspaper, Kline has now claimed that should the Wembley deal go through, Khan plans to move Fulham from Craven Cottage, its home for 122 years, to the national stadium. “They’re going to develop the Cottage entirely into flats, that’s the plan,” Kline said. “It’s a negative asset, it’s sitting on one of the most expensive pieces of property in London.”
However, Khan has reiterated that Fulham remains committed to Craven Cottage through a redevelopment plan that was approved in March. In a letter obtained by the Evening Standard newspaper, Khan in outlining his plans for Wembley told FA Council members ahead of today’s meeting that Craven Cottage will “always be the lifetime home” of Fulham, adding that work to redevelop the Riverside Stand will begin next May.
Approval for the project was granted following a planning hearing at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in March. The redevelopment plan will increase Craven Cottage’s capacity from 25,700 to 29,600, with a new riverside walkway central to the project. Shops, cafes, and luxury apartments are also part of the ambitious plans.
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.
Image: Fulham FC