Decision Regarding Wembley Is ImminentJake Cooper | 01 Oct 2018
The board members of English Football’s esteemed governing body, the Football Association (FA) will have the final say in what is turning out to be a laborious and protracted process. The process in question being the sale of the iconic Wembley Stadium to Pakistani-American billionaire Shahid Khan.
The $600 million deal has been on the negotiating table for quite some time, with many of the provisions and conditions of sale still being largely up in the air. Khan already owns English Premier League Football Club Fulham, as well as the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
FA Board Members Have Final Say
The members of the board were scheduled to cast a deciding vote on September 27th, and the football world currently awaits word on the outcome. The agreement isn’t as cut and dry as one would expect, with the stadium’s naming rights being one of the main conditions of the deal. What’s more, gambling operators will most probably be disqualified as possible sponsors of sporting events hosted by the stadium, due to the FA’s strong feelings of not wanting to English Football to be associated with games of chance.
The FA dissolved a sponsorship agreement with Ladbrokes in June of last year, after the Association took a lot of rap regarding a conflict of interests. Professional football players are not permitted to place bets on football matches. Gambling operator sponsorships were called out as being double standards in the Association’s ranks.
The fact that problem gambling is on a rapid rise in the United Kingdom makes the situation all the more topical.
Khan May Have To Amend Plans
A restriction on betting-related sponsorships isn’t the only condition that the new owner will have to adhere to. Khan, as well as any subsequent owner, will be bound by certain naming rights restrictions, as well as regulations that have been enforced in order to protect the stadium’s status of being a national heritage.
Rumour has it that Khan had been planning on incorporating branding material promoting the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley, which has now been cited as a big no-no by members of the board.
According to the terms of the agreement, Wembley Stadium is to retain its cultural status as the home of English Football.