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The FA are considering an astonishing offer from Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham owner Shahid Khan to sell Wembley Stadium in a deal worth £800million.
The news could revolutionise English football and provide the most significant moment in the UK’s involvement in expanding the NFL after more than a decade of the national stadium hosting International Series games.
Khan is willing to pay £500m cash for the stadium, report the Mail, with The FA maintaining the Club Wembley debenture and hospitality business valued at £300m.
The money would allow The FA to clear outstanding debts from the construction of the stadium and provide an opportunity for widespread investment at grass roots level.
Here are questions raised by the staggering news that will shake up English football:
Will the sale benefit English football?
The short answer is yes. By selling the national stadium, The FA can most importantly clears its debts and begin to invest in grass roots football.
Where will England play their home matches?
The Three Lions will continue to play at Wembley but the autumn internationals will likely be played elsewhere, clearing the calendar for an NFL franchise to play home games during the regular season, which takes place September to December.
Where is the £500m going?
The sale will immediately allow The FA to pay off their debt from a loan to pay off the initial cost of building the stadium. That was valued at £142m in January and was due to be paid off by 2024.
The remainder of the money could then be spent on growing the game, though some would still go to Wembley stakeholders.
Does this confirm London will be awarded the first international NFL franchise?
Not necessarily, though it is likely that Khan would like to make Wembley Stadium the new home of the Jaguars. The NFL would need to ratify any plans from Khan to move the Jacksonville-based franchise.
How will this affect Tottenham?
Spurs have a 10-year deal to host at least two NFL games per year at the new £1billion White Hart Lane, with the NFL investing £10m into the construction of the new stadium.
Even with a UK-based franchise, Spurs would likely still continue to host other matches with the remaining NFL franchises made available for the International Series.
How will this affect Chelsea?
Chelsea, like Spurs this season, have strongly been linked with using Wembley Stadium as their home while Stamford Bridge is rebuilt.
The Blues’ proposed £11m per season deal could therefore be under threat by this news.
Will it still be called Wembley Stadium?
No, probably not, as part of the deal, Khan would have the opportunity to bring in revenue by selling naming rights.
EE currently hold a lead brand partner for the stadium in a deal signed in 2014 that runs until 2020. It is unclear how this existing deal would be affected.
Where will The FA’s home be moving forward?
The FA will still hold their headquarters at Wembley Stadium.
Would it be the right move by The FA to sell Wembley Stadium?
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