0 Shahid Khan withdraws 'divisive' offer to buy national 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Fulham owner Shahid Khan has withdrawn his offer to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association after the plan became "divisive".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 than 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.

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.

Martin Glenn and Tracey Crouch

"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."

Khan said he wanted "to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them".

He added: "Unfortunately, given where we are today, I've concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favoured by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.

"Until a time when it is evident there is an unmistakable directive from the FA to explore and close a sale, I am respectfully withdrawing my offer to purchase Wembley Stadium."

You can read the full article from BBC Sport HERE

Football Foundation statement on Wembley sale withdrawal

"The news that Mr Khan has decided to withdraw his offer to buy Wembley Stadium should come as a huge disappointment to community footballers everywhere. Since 2000, the Foundation has used £650 million of direct funding from the Premier League, The FA and Government to draw in a further £850 million, which has allowed the Foundation to invest in projects worth £1.5 billion."

"An additional £600 million generated from the sale could have been turned into an additional £1.2 billion through working with local authorities, local education authorities and other organisations, which would have been added to a similar investment that is expected to be made over the next ten years - thereby doubling the investment, before any interest on the endowment fund was considered."

"Football participation in this country is huge. Unfortunately, those who play the game as a sport, simply for the love of doing so and for the health benefits are having to put up with a stock of community football facilities that is in a shameful state. This would have been a once in a life time opportunity to make considerable inroads into probably the most pressing issue facing football in this country."

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