Jacksonville, FL — Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has withdrawn his bid to purchase Wembley Stadium in London.
In a statement sent to WOKV, Khan says the intent of his effort to buy the iconic venue was to bring people together and strengthen the sport and stadium. Instead, he says opinions split, and it became clear there was no strong support for the sale at this time.
“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. 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”, Khan says.
The FA Council was set to vote October 24th on Khan's offer. At the time of his offer in April, Khan said purchasing Wembley would deliver another very significant asset and local revenue source for the Jaguars.
He issued a separate statement specifically to Jacksonville about deciding to pull out of the sale, saying the deal would have had a "much-needed positive effect" on the Jags in Jacksonville and London.
“Our commitment to London would have been amplified and strengthened with the certainty of officially making Wembley Stadium an annual host to Jaguars or other NFL games, and the local revenues we would have generated operating Wembley throughout the year would have been invested in our continued efforts toward building and maintaining a sustainable NFL franchise in Jacksonville,”
Khan further says it would have helped the FA invest in their sport as well.
“An agreement that would have served everyone exceptionally well, and brought everyone together for shared success, was the one and only goal,” he says.
The FA says they respect Khan’s decision and commit to ensuring Wembley will “continue to thrive”, but acknowledge that things will have to evolve.
“There has been much deliberation on both sides of this debate and it has undoubtedly raised awareness of the issue that community football facilities in England need significant investment,” says the statement from FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn.
Khan tells Jacksonville he is disappointed by these developments, but will continue to emphasize London, and the role that has in ensuring the Jags have a stable, long-term future in Jacksonville.
“London as the Jaguars’ home away from home remains a priority. Downtown Jacksonville with the Jaguars serving as a catalyst in its revitalization remains a priority. The relationship between London and the Jaguars is as important as ever and we will continue to develop it to the benefit of all,” he says.
And Khan further says he is willing to revisit the purchase in the future, but only if there is unity in support of the deal.
Khan has invested in projects at TIAA Bank Field since taking over ownership of the team, including chipping in to projects like upgrading the Club Level, installing new video boards and pools, and building the Daily's Place amphitheater and flex field adjoining the stadium. He also continues to negotiate with the City's Downtown Investment Authority over the redevelopment of the Shipyards and Met Park area. Additionally, he recently unveiled plans for a massive redevelopment of the Sports Complex overall, which he envisions starting with an overhaul of what is now Lot J, used for parking.