On Thursday, the Football Association board approved the sale of London’s Wembley Stadium to Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, putting the transaction one step closer to completion.
It was publicly revealed earlier this year that Khan was working on an effort to purchase Wembley Stadium from England’s Football Association. The potential sale was viewed as a way to strengthen existing ties between the NFL and London, while allowing Khan to plan for the stadium’s future.
Discussions unfolded over the last several months and, despite some uncertainties along the way, led to Thursday’s decision by the board to move forward with the sale for nearly $800 million in American dollars. The full council FA council, which can offer input but does not have the authority to accept or reject the transaction, will be presented the terms of a potential Wembley Stadium sale at a meeting next month. More from the Florida Times-Union:
In a brief statement, England’s Football Association said, “The FA Board have approved the sale of Wembley Stadium. The sale of Wembley Stadium, the negotiated protections and an outlined plan to invest £600m into football community facilities, were presented and discussed at The FA Board meeting today. Following on from this discussion, The FA Board has agreed to take the presentation to The FA Council to get its input now that the full facts are known.”
The BBC reported that the FA’s 127-member council would consider the deal on Oct. 11. It said, “The FA Council — which includes representatives of the Premier League, Football League and county FAs — does not have the power to accept or reject the deal.”
Khan issued a statement, saying, “The news from today’s FA Board meeting is welcomed and encouraging. I understand the discussion was open and thorough. One cannot ask for more as we continue to work through the process with the FA Board, FA Council, Sport England, the Mayor of London’s office and DCMS toward reaching an agreement that will serve English football for generations to come. Today’s development has no effect on my plans to renovate Craven Cottage and, as such, has no impact on Craven Cottage continuing to be the permanent home of Fulham Football Club.”
In light of Khan’s desire to purchase Wembley Stadium, there was plenty of speculation about what it meant for the future of the Jaguars in Jacksonville. The team already has ties to London–it has played one home game there annually since 2013–and there has been speculation among the British press that Khan’s long-term plans include a move of the team to London. However, Khan has previously denied that that is the case, and continues to do so.
As it relates to Jacksonville, it should be noted that the Jaguars have made numerous fan experience upgrades to TIAA Bank Field in recent years under Khan’s ownership. There has also been discussion of Khan being involved in future development in downtown Jacksonville, with part of those plans including an entertainment district outside of TIAA Bank Field.
Image courtesy Wembley Stadium.