U.S. Billionaire's Bid for Wembley Stadium Faces Lawmaker Probe
(Bloomberg) -- A bid by the billionaire owner of National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars franchise for London’s Wembley Stadium will be scrutinized by a parliamentary committee following a public outcry over the sale.
The offer by Shahid Khan, announced last week, is worth about 600 million pounds ($813 million) to Wembley owner the Football Association, according to Jaguars President Mark Lamping. In addition, the FA will keep the income stream from its hospitality program, Club Wembley. Jacksonville Jaguars plays in London once a season and Khan would like to use Wembley to stage more NFL games.
"Wembley is the home of English football," Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said in a statement Friday. "There should be some public scrutiny of any decision to sell the stadium and how proceeds from this could be invested to benefit the long-term future of the game."
Khan has sounded out government officials as well as key executives at the FA, who are open to the bid, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. FA Chairman Greg Clarke has committed to using the proceeds to invest in grassroots soccer facilities, including new pitches and floodlighting, according to the statement.
The committee has invited Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport, and representatives from the FA to give evidence at the meeting, which will be held on July 18.
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