Wembley: Jacksonsville Jaguars owner offers to buy London soccer stadium
(CNN) — It’s the home of English football and one of the most iconic venues in world sport — and it could be about to get new American owners.
The English Football Association confirmed Thursday it has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium.
The statement from the FA came amid reports in the British media that Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise, had agreed to purchase the stadium in a $1.4 billion deal.
“We can confirm that the FA has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium,” the FA said in a statement.
The NFL has hosted games at the stadium, located in north London, since 2007, with three games set to take place at Wembley in October.
Khan’s Jaguars have long been linked with a permanent move to the UK, with the billionaire also the owner of the Fulham soccer team, which plays in English football’s second tier.
The NFL expressed its delight at a possible deal between Khan and the FA as it continues to grow American Football outside of the US.
“We are very happy for Shad Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars,” NFL executive vice-president of events and international Mark Waller said in a statement.
“The potential purchase of Wembley Stadium is a further powerful sign of their commitment to the UK and their vision to help us grow the sport.
“Having stadium options in London has always been critical to the NFL and, in tandem with our 10-year partnership with Tottenham Hotspur, this new relationship would allow for even greater flexibility in scheduling future NFL games in London.”
North London-based soccer team Tottenham opens its new stadium later this year and is due to host the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks on October 14.
A total of 317,000 spectators attended the four London-based 2017 NFL International Series games hosted at Wembley and the Twickenham rugby stadium.
It remains to be seen how a potential sale would be received by English soccer fans, who have been visiting the stadium since 1923.
The stadium was demolished and rebuilt before being reopened as a 90,000-seater arena in 2007, with the total cost of the work estimated to be £1 billion.
The old stadium was the site of English football’s greatest triumph, when it lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1966.