Jaguars owner Shahid Khan drops bid to buy UK's Wembley Stadium
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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan backed out of his bid to purchase Wembley Stadium in London on Wednesday, scuttling a transaction that was widely expected to have implications on the NFL’s long-term presence in the United Kingdom.
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Khan’s £600 million ($788 million) bid to buy the stadium had received preliminary approval last April. The U.K’s Football Association was set to hold a final vote next week.
"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 favored by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium,” Khan said in a statement. “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.”
Wembley Stadium has hosted the vast majority of the NFL’s games in London, including several featuring the Jaguars, which have played more games in the U.K. than any other NFL team. Khan’s attempt to buy the stadium was widely seen as an attempt to cement the Jaguars’ status in the city, which has long been rumored as a potential host for a permanent NFL franchise overseas.
Khan’s offer reportedly received some pushback from FA members who questioned whether the storied stadium should be sold and how to spend any proceeds from a sale. Khan has not ruled out a future bid to acquire the stadium.
“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,” Khan said in an open letter explaining his bid last April. “And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars' future will be in Jacksonville.”
The NFL will host three games in London this season. A top league official recently said the NFL is “nearer than ever” to placing a permanent team in London.
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