Football

Fulham owner withdraws ‘divisive’ offer to buy Wembley stadium from FA

Fulham owner Shahid Khan has withdrawn his offer to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association after the plan became “divisive”.

Khan had offered £600m for the national stadium, with the FA retaining the Club Wembley hospitality rights, which it valued at £250m to £300m.

The move was “more divisive then expected”, said FA chief Martin Glenn.

Khan has not ruled out making another bid in future if there is more support from FA Council members.

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The FA had said it would invest the proceeds of the sale into improving grassroots football facilities.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch told the BBC she was “very disappointed” by the decision, calling the offer “a huge opportunity to boost funding into the development and maintenance of artificial and grass pitches up and down the country”.

FA executives made a presentation to the FA Council last week about why they were backing the sale to Khan, and the 127 council members were scheduled to vote on the proposed sale on 24 October.

But a senior FA source told BBC Sport that the board believed the odds were slightly against the purchase being backed, given the strong objections of some councillors to the home of English football being sold off.

FA chief executive Glenn said Khan had believed his offer “would be well received by all football stakeholders”.

However, Glenn added: “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 he has decided to withdraw his proposal.

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

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