Shahid Khan on Thursday revealed his intention to purchase Wembley Stadium from the English Football Association (FA), with the London Evening Standard reporting the billionaire has lodged a bid of £500 million for the London-based arena.
Khan - a car parts tycoon from the U.S. who owns English Championship outfit Fulham and the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League - confirmed he's made an offer for the stadium in a statement to Fulham supporters, citing that the move serves to increase the Jaguars' presence in London, and will not remove the English club from its home at Craven Cottage.
"The games the Jaguars play at Wembley are essential to the financial stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, which is one of the smallest markets in the NFL," Khan wrote. "If my ownership interests were to include Wembley Stadium, it would protect the Jaguars' position in London at a time when other NFL teams are understandably becoming more interested in this great city. And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars' future will be in Jacksonville. ...
"To be clear, this venture is 100 percent independent of my investment in and operation of Fulham Football Club, Motspur Park, and Craven Cottage. No less attention will be paid to developing players and fielding a squad that will win with frequency and always make you proud. It will have no impact on Craven Cottage as the home of FFC. And this is imperative to know, and I encourage you to spread the word - absolutely nothing changes in our plans to redevelop the Riverside Stand."
The FA confirmed it had received a bid for Wembley Stadium, though no figure was revealed along with that confirmation. The NFL acknowledged the bid as well, releasing a statement in support of Khan's efforts: "The potential purchase of Wembley Stadium is a further powerful sign of their commitment to the UK and their vision to help us grow the sport."
Since undergoing reconstruction and opening in 2007, Wembley Stadium has also served as the home ground of the England national team, and Khan made it clear he intends to keep things that way, should his offer be accepted.
"Always know Wembley would be home to the England national teams, and that we would strive every day of the year to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic and beloved here and throughout the world," he wrote in his statement to Fulham's supporters.