Fulham owner Shahid Khan moved a step closer to buying Wembley Stadium after the Football Association board agreed to let the American businessman’s £600 million ($787 million, 674 million euros) plan be considered by the governing body’s full council next month.
Wembley, in northwest London, is the spiritual home of football in England and the historic arena reopened in 2007 after a seven-year rebuilding project that cost £757 million.
But senior FA executives believe selling to American businessman Khan, who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team, could provide a huge cash boost for English football as well as an additional £300m in future revenues from the stadium’s hospitality business.
Now Khan’s proposal will be put before the FA council when it meets on October 11.
“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 (Thursday),” said an FA spokesperson.
“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.”
Reports in the British media before Thursday’s meeting suggested opposition from amateur football representatives and other grassroots groups could have scuppered the deal.
Board approval was forthcoming, however, although Khan’s plan will need to gain majority council support if it is to get off the drawing board.
Khan’s proposals also include basing the Jaguars at Wembley, where a succession of NFL games, several featuring his side, have been played in recent years.