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Volume 7 No. 149

Facilities

Wembley's sale will be contingent upon approval from at least 60% of the FA Council.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Proposals to sell Wembley Stadium appear in "grave danger" of failing to win the necessary support, with many FA councilors "still unconvinced by the plan," according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. More than a quarter of the £600M ($789M) of any sale would "immediately leave the FA's control" as it has to repay public and National Lottery money. FA execs gave a presentation to the 127-member FA council on Thursday in a "last-ditch bid to gain support" before a decisive vote on Oct. 24 on whether to sell the venue to EPL side Fulham Owner Shahid Khan. He wants to use it as a London base for his NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. At least 60% of the council will need to be in favor for it to go ahead but many representatives of the amateur game "remain opposed even though the FA leadership has promised much of it will go to grassroots projects." However, the FA will have to repay £120M ($157.8M) to Sport England, which is "adamant it will make the decisions on how that is spent." The £20M ($26.3M) owed to the government would "go straight into Treasury funds, without any plan as yet to use it for grassroots sport." The £21M ($27.6M) owed to the mayor of London's office is "likely to be controlled by the mayor rather than the FA" (LONDON TIMES, 10/12).

NO DELAY: In London, David Conn reported allegations of malpractice made against Fulham by former Assistant Dir of Football Craig Kline were "raised as a potential barrier" to the FA selling Wembley. The FA said that it is "reviewing" the allegations, which Kline said involve "systemic corruption, child endangerment and exploitation, and fraud" which he witnessed during his time at Fulham from '14-17. FA Chair Greg Clarke and FA CEO Martin Glenn are supporting the sale of Wembley to Khan "so the proceeds can be invested in improving grassroots facilities." An FA investigation into Fulham, which will be undertaken if the review finds Kline's allegation "serious enough," would not delay the council's vote. One council insider described Thursday's meeting as "broadly supportive of selling the stadium," with many councilors persuaded that the proceeds, which Glenn said could reach £1B ($1.3B) with matched funding, "could transform dilapidated facilities nationwide" (GUARDIAN, 10/11).

Coventry City began playing home games at Ricoh Arena at the start of the '05-06 season.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

League One side Coventry City said that it is "hoping to come to a deal" with Premiership Rugby side Wasps to extend its tenancy at the Ricoh Arena, according to the BBC. Coventry City's agreement to play at the stadium will come to an end after this season. The club said in a statement, "Without agreement of a stadium to play at next season, the club's place in the Football League is at risk." The statement came a day before a Court of Appeal decision on "whether a judicial review should take place into the sale of the stadium." Coventry City owner Sisu said that Coventry City Council undervalued the stadium by £27M when it was sold to Wasps in '14 (BBC, 10/11).