Fulham owner Shahid Khan withdraws offer to buy Wembley Stadium

Shahid Khan has backed off in the face of opposition from FA councillors

Shahid Khan has backed off in the face of opposition from FA councillors

The sale of Wembley Stadium has collapsed a week before a decisive vote on the controversial proposal was due to be held.

The owner of National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars franchise withdrew his bid for London's Wembley Stadium on the grounds that the Football Association may not be ready to part with the asset.

But concerns about whether the FA was selling the family silver too cheaply, its ability to spend the money wisely and Khan's long-term plans for the stadium have all conspired against the sale.

The announcement at least means the FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, and chairman, Greg Clarke, will not have to deal with the fallout that would have followed...

Shahid Khan has sensationally withdrawn his £600million offer to buy Wembley.

"The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them", he added.

According to Glenn, Khan informed the FA that he was pulling his bid after it was "being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be" without stronger support from football stakeholders.

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The FA was under no financial pressure to sell the 11-year-old stadium but seized on Khan's interest as a chance to fund soccer facilities in communities across England while retaining the use of Wembley for national team matches and domestic cup finals.

The FA had been poised to sell the stadium to the billionaire owner of Fulham football club in an extraordinary deal worth nearly £900m.

The potential deal has, however, aroused much debate and, with the FA Council not certain to back the sale, the apparent lack of whole-hearted support from within the game appears to have impacted Khan's decision.

"Wembley Stadium is an iconic venue that is revered around the world and it will continue to thrive under the ownership and direction of the FA".

"I can not rule out revisiting the opportunity at another time when perhaps the Football Association family is unified in its views on the opportunity", Khan said on Wednesday.

Although it cost the FA and British government more than $1.4 billion (adjusted for inflation) to renovate and rebuild Wembley Stadium, the arena hosted 33 events between July 2016 and June 2017 and in its latest published financial records, the FA recorded an after-tax profit of $21 million. Broader support from within the Football Association is necessary, and "with opinions clearly split, that is not possible at this time". Wembley Stadium is indeed a national treasure, one I would care for and respect for generations.

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