Wembley sale would ‘provide the support’ for a World Cup bid, says Khan

Shahid Khan – If you love English football, Wembley deal must go ahead

Purchasing Wembley would “provide the support” for a World Cup bid, says potential new owner Shahid Khan.

The billionaire owner of Championship side Fulham and NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars has made an offer worth around £1bn to buy the stadium from the Football Association.

Khan said he would be keen to hold the Super Bowl at Wembley, though it was “premature” to discuss the prospect.

“Our role would be to provide a world-class venue,” he told BBC Sport.

“[The FA] will have a pool of money of about £600m that can be invested into the core mission of the FA, which is English football and their ultimate goal of winning a World Cup.

“Wembley is a great stadium and you want to get it configured to hold Super Bowl and World Cup finals.”

The offer for the stadium is £600m but the FA would retain all the national games and cup matches, which generate revenue for the association, and have a value of about £400m.

When it was put to Khan that former England international Gary Neville and some FA councillors were among those opposed to the deal, he claimed “if you love English football, you want this deal to go ahead”.

He also said the name of the stadium would not be changed.

“Wembley is the essence, the cradle of English football,” said Khan, the 217th richest person in the world, according to the 2018 Forbes rich list.

“We would very much like for England matches and cup finals to be played at Wembley, that is the DNA.

“We want to keep the original mission of Wembley alive. Frankly, that’s what gives Wembley its value.”

In a bid to increase the usage of Wembley, Khan said they would “look at” adding a roof, though he would not want to affect the “soul of the stadium”.

Chelsea would also be “welcome” to use the stadium as their temporary home while Stamford Bridge is redeveloped, which is likely to be from 2020.

“Personally, I have not spoken to Chelsea, but the CEO of Fulham has spoken to his counterpart at Chelsea,” he said.

“It was never an issue to us. Chelsea has been a great club and those relationships go back a long time.”

The redeveloped Wembley Stadium cost £757m and opened in 2007

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