The Football Association has reportedly agreed terms to sell Wembley to Shahid Khan as English football’s governing body prepares to vote on the future of the national stadium.
As exclusively revealed by Sportsmail in April, Khan, the billionaire owner of Fulham and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, tabled a formal offer for the home of English football.
He made the FA an £800million offer – more than £500m in cash, as well as allowing the FA to keep the Club Wembley debenture and hospitality business that is valued at a further £300m.
WHO PAID FOR WEMBLEY STADIUM?
Wembley Stadium opened in 2007 at a cost of £757m after work began to demolition the old ground in 2002.
Funding for the new stadium came from the FA which secured huge loans for the project as well as from Lottery-funded Sport England which paid £120m; the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which put up £20m with a further £21m coming from the London Development Agency.
In January the FA said it would finally finish paying for Wembley by the end of 2024, 17 years after it opened.
A debt of £142m reportedly remained.
The 10-man FA board will discuss whether to approve the sale on Thursday, however the two sides have already agreed an outline deal, say the Financial Times.
This does not mean the sale has been confirmed however, with FA chief executive Martin Glenn and chairman Greg Clarke seeking unanimous approval for the sale to go through.
According to reports, the FA have driven a hard bargain to ensure the future of the national stadium as a top sporting venue is ensured.
This includes an agreement that the FA have the right to buy back Wembley for just £100m if it is stripped of elite status by UEFA.
It is also reported that the terms of the deal mean Wembley cannot be renamed as part of any sponsorship deal, and the FA will be able to veto any sponsor of which they do not approve.
Big matches, such as the FA Cup final, would still be able to be held there, however there would be unlikely to be any football during the autumn during the NFL season.
Khan has ambitious plans for an NFL franchise in London, and the Jaguars have played several games in the English capital in recent years.
England’s autumn internationals will have to move away from Wembley if Khan is successful in moving his £1bn NFL franchise to London.
The FA believe England fans would welcome more internationals being played in other parts of the country.
Most of the money would be invested back into grassroots football, which for the FA and organisations which helped fund the stadium, such as Sport England, has proved to be a point in favour of the sale.
The Financial Times report that neither Khan nor the FA responded to requests for comment on their story.
KEY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DEAL
Where will England play?
Internationals will be played around the country when there are NFL games between September and December. Otherwise England will play at Wembley.
Where will the fee go?
The FA still owes £113m to the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, Sport England and London Development Agency. It is likely the FA will pay off these grants and invest a large chunk of the money into grass-roots football.
…and ticket revenues?
The FA will retain ticket rights for events it holds at the stadium.
Would it still be called Wembley Stadium?
Wembley signed a six-year deal with EE in 2014. EE are the lead brand partner of the stadium and it is not clear how this new deal would affect their contract.
Where will the FA Cup Final be staged?
Cup finals and play-offs would continue to be played at Wembley. Euro 2020 fixtures scheduled there would go ahead as planned.
Who owns Wembley?
The FA. They bought Wembley in 1999 but there are a number of stakeholders involved.
Would Wembley be home to Jacksonville Jaguars?
Shahid Khan made it clear that owning Wembley would ‘protect the Jaguars’ position in London’. He will need approval from the NFL to make that happen.
How would Tottenham’s NFL plans be affected?
Tottenham’s 10-year deal to host at least two NFL games a year at the new White Hart Lane should not be affected.
How might Chelsea’s plans be affected?
Chelsea’s position was said to be unchanged on Thursday. It is understood they would not look for a temporary home until 2021.
Where would the FA go?
The FA’s headquarters would continue to be at Wembley.