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THE proposed sale of Wembley to US billionaire Shahid Khan will go to a vote of the Football Association Council on October 24, the governing body has confirmed after a “healthy discussion” of the deal’s merits today.
The Fulham owner’s offer of £600 million in cash and £300m in retained hospitality income has divided football, with some agreeing with the FA’s plan to use the windfall to transform grassroots facilities, while others have likened it to selling the crown jewels.
At a meeting of the 127-strong council, FA bosses walked the game’s self-styled parliament through the deal and took questions from the floor.
In a statement posted on its Twitter feed, the FA said: “Today’s FA Council meeting included a presentation and healthy discussion on the potential sale of Wembley Stadium.
“The full facts and figures of a £600m investment to improve community football facilities in England were outlined.
“The presentation also included detailed information on the commercial deal that has been discussed, including the protections that will be in place to ensure its status as the national stadium and the home of English football.
“A special meeting has been scheduled on October 24 for the FA Council members to vote on the potential sale. The FA Board will then take these views into consideration.”
The FA’s leadership is squarely behind the deal, as are the professional leagues and government, and Khan has also upped his lobbying efforts with a direct appeal to each FA councillor.
In a letter sent last week, the 68-year-old told them he has no intention of moving his Premier League club to Wembley and wants to work with them on maintaining the national stadium’s world-class status.
Earlier this week, Fulham’s former assistant director of football Craig Kline resurfaced a year after his acrimonious exit from the club to claim Khan wants to base his NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham at Wembley, so he can build luxury flats at Craven Cottage.
Khan, however, wrote that he has been dealing with rumours about his intentions for Craven Cottage since he bought the club in 2013, but has never deviated from his plan to “invest in the club and the renovation of Craven Cottage so it would always be the lifetime and spiritual home of Fulham.”
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