Future Stadiums & Venues

Shahid Khan on his Wembley bid: ‘This is about protecting the Jaguars’ position in London’

Jacksonville Jaguars owner releases two statements on UK£800 million London stadium move.

by Tom Bassam

Shahid Khan on his Wembley bid: ‘This is about protecting the Jaguars’ position in London’

Shahid Khan has confirmed he has submitted a bid to buy Wembley stadium from the English Football Association (FA). (More details on the offer here)

The billionaire has released two statements on the bid for London’s 90,000-seater stadium addressing his two sports properties, National Football League (NFL) franchise Jacksonville Jaguars and English soccer club Fulham.

Via the Jaguars website Khan looked to allay fears in Jacksonville that he would be moving the team to the UK capital.

The statement says: ‘One of the many benefits of the Jaguars’ commitment to London has been our partnership with the FA and Wembley Stadium. Over the past several years, it became clearer to us and the FA that the idea of our purchase of Wembley Stadium made a lot of sense for all of us.

‘For the FA, it would mean Wembley Stadium returning to private ownership, permitting the FA to direct its full attention to its mandate to develop talent and serve the game with the vast resources it would realise from the sale.

‘For the Jaguars, it would deliver another – and very significant – asset and local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London, which as everyone knows is crucial to the Jaguars’ continued sustainability in Jacksonville. In every respect, the Jaguars’ standing in London would be improved and dramatically enhanced if we are fortunate to be approved as the new owner and steward of Wembley Stadium, and that’s good news for the Jaguars and all of Jacksonville.

‘If you’ve had the occasion to join us for one of our Jaguars home games in London, you know that Wembley Stadium is a very special place. Our commitment to the FA is we will own and operate Wembley with the care and respect it deserves, always being mindful that it is – and will continue to be – the home of England’s national teams as well as the ultimate destination for the world’s top entertainment and sports event, including Jaguars and NFL games.

‘And today’s announcement is additional evidence that we are committed to create and enhance new revenue streams to boost the Jaguars, such as the incredibly successful Daily’s Place and the project we revealed last week with The Cordish Companies on the proposed development around EverBank Field.

‘Today’s news changes none of what we envision for the long-term promise for the Jaguars here in Jax, and it changes nothing as to the goals we have for your downtown. If anything, today’s news is the embodiment of the ethos we adopted several years ago of being proud, bold and committed.

‘We look forward to the process ahead with The Football Association and our pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, occurring very late this evening.’

This changes none of what we envision for the long-term promise for the Jaguars here in Jacksonville

England's Football Association (FA) has confirmed it has received an offer from US billionaire Shahid Khan worth a reported UK£800 million

In his message via the Fulham website, Khan stated his understanding of the importance of Wembley to English soccer and that his bid to buy the stadium would not reduce his involvement with the West London club.

It said: ‘As you likely know, in addition to the privilege of serving as chairman of Fulham Football Club, I am also owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League in the US. The Jaguars have played regular season home games at Wembley Stadium in each of the past five NFL seasons and will continue to do so at least through the 2020 season.

‘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. 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.

‘As important, Wembley Stadium would return to private ownership and The Football Association would be able to focus on its core mission of developing players with the best player developers and facilities anywhere in the game, thanks in part to the vast financial benefit that would result from the transaction.

‘I trust many if not most of you are also supporters of the England national teams, so I hope you welcome the potential of this becoming a reality. 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.

‘No matter what the outcome of our offer may be, I want to emphatically state to you that none of this will have any effect on my commitment to your club.

‘To be clear, this venture is 100 per cent 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.’

None of this will have any effect on my commitment to Fulham