Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Ends Bid to Buy Wembley Stadium
(Bloomberg) -- 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.
“It appears there is no definitive mandate to sell Wembley,” Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-born billionaire, said in a statement on Wednesday. “My current proposal, subsequently, would earn the backing of only a slim majority of the FA Council, well short of the conclusive margin that the FA chairman has required.”
Khan made an offer in April worth about 600 million pounds ($788 million) to the Football Association, according to Jaguars President Mark Lamping. The U.S. team plays in London once a season and Khan wanted to use Wembley -- the 90,000-seat capacity venue that is home to England’s national soccer team -- to stage more NFL games. His bid led to a public outcry and scrutiny by a parliamentary committee.
Wembley hosts occasional concerts and club soccer matches, as well as most games for the national team. For the past season, it has been the home of soccer team Tottenham Hotspur, whose new stadium in north London will also host NFL games when it’s completed.
Under Khan’s proposal, the Football Association would have kept the income stream of 300 million pounds a year from its hospitality program Club Wembley, according to Lamping. The current owner also planned to use some of the proceeds to invest in grassroots soccer clubs, people with knowledge of the matter had said in April.
“I cannot rule out revisiting the opportunity at another time,” Khan said in the statement. Broader support from within the Football Association is necessary, and “with opinions clearly split, that is not possible at this time.”
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