English FA ′in talks′ to sell Wembley Stadium to private owner | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 26.04.2018
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English FA 'in talks' to sell Wembley Stadium to private owner

The English FA has been offered about €900 million ($1 billion) for Wembley Stadium, according to reports. The arena, which hosts England games and cup finals, has caught the eye of NFL franchise owner Shahid Khan.

Widespread reports emerging on Thursday suggested Khan, who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL (National Football League) franchise, has approached the FA but will allow England games to continue at the venue, which re-opened in 2007. The FA would also retain control of its Club Wembley hospitality business.

"We would strive to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic," said Khan in conversation with the FA board. "Wembley would return to private ownership and the Football Association would be able to focus on its core mission of developing players.

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"I trust many if not most of you are also supporters of the England national teams, so I hope you welcome the potential of this becoming a reality."

The 90,000-seat stadium, the largest in the United Kingdom, hosts England home matches, as well as cup finals and some semifinals and other sports events, including Jaguars games. Any deal would increase speculation about a London-based NFL franchise.

"The games the Jaguars play at Wembley are essential to the financial stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, which is one of the smallest markets in the NFL," Khan said. "If my ownership interests were to include Wembley Stadium, it would protect the Jaguars' position in London at a time when other NFL teams are understandably becoming more interested in this great city.

Khan said a takeover of Wembley would "have no impact on Craven Cottage," which is his soccer team Fulham's current home in west London.

The FA said in January that it would finish paying off the re-development of the ground, originally opened in 1923, by 2024 and Khan said the deal would allow the organization to concentrate on its core values.

 "For the FA," he said, "it would mean Wembley Stadium returning to private ownership, permitting the FA to direct its full attention to its mandate to develop talent and serve the game with the vast resources it would realize from the sale."
mp (Ap, Reuters)

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