Jacksonville Jaguars owner, Shahid Khan wants to buy Wembley from the English FA but that might not be the best idea for soccer in the UK.
England is often referred to as the birthplace of soccer, and the soccer epicenter of England is Wembley. The stadium plays host to the nation's international home games, club cup finals, it has hosted the Champions League final, the World Cup final, and even makes the perfect stage for other sports such as football, boxing, and even professional wrestling.
While the original stadium has been demolished and the one that stands in its place is a replacement, there has been a Wembley Stadium since 1923 and soccer has always been played there, among other things. It has also been the property of the English Football Association for all of that time. However, that might all be about to change.
That's because Wembley Stadium has been subject to a bid. Back in April, Shahid Khan, the owner of newly promoted Fulham and NFL Franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars, offered the FA a massive $780 million for Wembley. In fact, since the deal would allow the FA to retain a share of the stadium's hospitality income, it would actually be worth closer to $1.3 billion. Sky Sports soccer expert Gary Neville recently told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee hearing why selling Wembley is a terrible idea.
The FA has outlined that the money it gets from the potential sale of Wembley stadium would enable it to pump $91 million per year for the next 20 years into grassroots soccer. Neville has pointed out that $91 million isn't exactly much in soccer nowadays, Cristiano Ronaldo did just move to Real Madrid for $140 million after all. The former England star suggested placing a levy on agent's fees and skimming a little off the top of Premier League bonuses to get that money instead.
On the US side of things, American NFL fans probably aren't too psyched about the potential of Wembley's sale either. That's because the main reason Khan wants to buy the stadium is so he can make it the Jaguars' new home. An overseas franchise is not a popular prospect among US NFL fans due to the time difference, away games thousands of miles away, and Jacksonville losing its team. If the price is right though, the sale will likely go through no matter what the majority wants.