FA facing £72m bill for Wembley upgrades if sale falls through

The FA have warned that they face a £72million bill for upgrades to Wembley if they do not sell to Fulham owner Shahid Khan.

In an apparent last-ditch attempt to garner support for the £600m sale ahead of Thursday's crunch meeting on the proposed deal, the FA's chief financial officer Mark Burrows even claimed they would be better off 'handing over' the stadium than retaining ownership.

Burrows spelled out the expected costs during a presentation to county FA chiefs. With £2m worth of work needed on the floodlights — as well as improvements to the pitch, the roof, cabling and beer delivery systems — the bill would be around £18m this year.

Fulham owner Shahid Khan is attempting to buy Wembley Stadium for £600million

In January the FA said it would finally finish paying for Wembley by the end of 2024, 17 years after it opened.

He said: 'Wembley is profitable and we do not need to sell — I would be happy to keep running it and would enjoy doing so. This is a serious and very credible offer and it's a far better deal than we would have got in the market. A forced seller would not get a deal like this.

'And the FA will save £72m in capital expenditure over the next six years. It's £18m this year. We are immediately off the hook for this and it's the biggest number in the turnover equation. So we would be better off by handing over the stadium to them, never mind the £600m.'

The FA are set to repeat these warnings at Thursday's FA council meeting about the potential sale, at which 127 councillors will hear details of the deal tabled by American-Pakistani billionaire Khan.

Although no decision will be made on Thursday — the councillors will return to vote on October 24 — FA chairman Greg Clarke will be keen to leave Wembley having persuaded those who are still opposed to the idea.

Clarke is not interested in rubber-stamping a deal if he can only achieve a small majority on the council and is aiming instead for a 'significant majority' amounting to a 60-40 split.

Wembley needs £18m of maintenance work this year and a total of £72m over the next six 

The FA will have to pay £2m to complete essential upgrade works to Wembley's floodlights

In addition to any concerns over the way the FA would spend the significant windfall from the sale, councillors are likely to be aware of claims of corruption at Fulham made by a former employee.

The FA and EFL are examining allegations by Fulham's former assistant director of football Craig Kline that he has 'key evidence of systemic corruption relevant to the Wembley vote'.

Police are also investigating reports by Kline of non-recent threatening behaviour by Khan and Fulham's chief executive Alistair Mackintosh.

A spokesman for Khan has dismissed the claims as 'nonsense' and 'bogus'.

Khan wrote a two-page letter to FA council members this week committing to being a 'responsible owner and operator of Wembley Stadium' if he is successful in buying it. 

He also suggested the formation of a 'committee of FA council members who would play a meaningful advisory role on all FA-related stadium matters to guarantee that your voice and counsel will always be heard and respected.'

The Premier League and Sport England also wrote to the FA council.

On Thursday Martin Glenn and FA board will present to FA council having approved the sale

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October 11, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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