- The Football Association are on the verge of selling Wembley Stadium in deal worth up to £800million
- Shahid Khan, owner of Fulham and the Jacksonville Jaguars, has tabled a formal offer for the national stadium
- The NFL tycoon is worth an estimated £5.2billion and is prepared to pay more than £800m in cash
- Sportsmail understands the FA believe the offer is simply too good to turn down and could be willing to sell
- Ownership of the stadium would pave the way for the NFL’s first overseas team to be based in London
- But fans have questioned the wisdom of the move, with many insisting the iconic venue should not be sold
Football fans are furious after plans to sell Wembley Stadium to the American owner of an NFL team for more than £800million surfaced today.
The iconic site – where England games have been played since 1920s – could be handed to Shahid Khan, the billionaire owner of American football ‘franchise’ the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Football Association says the huge windfall could be pumped into grassroots football, but fans are uneasy at the thought of the national stadium being privately owned and potentially renamed.
Critics questioned how much the new owner might charge England to play at the ground, while others told of their fears the stadium could end up being be named after US firms like Budweiser or Taco Bell.
Plans for the sale have also sparked a scramble to reclaim the £40million taxpayers’ money pumped into the development of the stadium and the £120million National Lottery funding.
It is feared the English national football team may end up having to play home matches at other stadiums around the country while the NFL season is underway.The Football Association are on the verge of selling Wembley Stadium for more than £500million in a move which has sparked a backlash from some fans, who say the ‘crown jewel’ site should not be handed over to private owners
Fans have expressed concern that the home of English football could become privately-owned and could be renamed.
NFL cheerleaders at a NFL game played at Wembley in 2010. The stadium could be about to host many more American football games if the deal to sell it to the Jacksonville Jaguars owner goes ahead
Khan, who is worth an estimated £5.2billion, is prepared to pay more than £500m in cash and allow the FA to keep its hospitality business Club Wembley that is valued at a further £300m. The FA is said to have around £100m in debt which it was due to pay off in 2024.
Former QPR player Rodney Marsh was among those questioning in the move today. He tweeted: ‘Mark this date. If Wembley is sold it will no longer be Wembley Stadium. It will become The Google Sports Arena.’
Local MP and Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner added: ‘Let’s not see our National Football Stadium traded away in a backroom deal. Wembley Stadium is not just at the heart of our borough of Brent, it’s at the heart of Britain.’