Wembley deal off as Shahid Khan withdraws £600m bid to buy national stadium
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Wembley deal off as Shahid Khan withdraws £600m bid to buy national stadium

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US billionaire Shahid Khan has withdrawn his bid to buy Wembley, English football's national stadium.

Khan, the owner of Fulham Football Club and the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise, made an offer of around £600m (US$828m, €685.6m) for the stadium in April.

The deal would have resulted in Khan taking control of the venue, but would have left the English Football Association (FA) – Wembley's current owner – in charge of the Club Wembley hospitality business.

While the plans to sell Wembley were supported by some members of the FA board – who saw it as a way for the national governing body to be able to focus on its core mission of developing players and improve grassroots – it caused division at all levels of the sport.

Some former players called the plans "a disgrace", while many grassroots football stakeholders demanded to see clear plans of how the £600m would be used to benefit the development of the sport.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said the plans to sell Wembley had proven to be "more divisive than expected".

"The offer from Shahid Khan to buy Wembley Stadium was a very credible one and was given very serious consideration," Glenn said.

"Mr Khan believed that his offer to buy Wembley Stadium would release funds to help improve community football facilities in England and that it would be well received by all football stakeholders.

"At a recent meeting with Mr Khan he expressed to us that, without stronger support from within the game, his offer is being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be and has decided to withdraw his proposal.

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

Glenn said that while the plans to sell Wembley have now been buried, they had a positive impact of highlighting the need to improve grassroots facilities.

"This debate (over the sale) has undoubtedly raised awareness of the issue that community football facilities in England need significant investment," he added.

"We will continue to work together to identify new and innovative ways of investing in community football facilities in the future."

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US billionaire Shahid Khan has withdrawn his bid to buy Wembley, English football's national stadium.

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