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Who is Shahid Khan? The billionaire owner of Fulham set to buy Wembley Stadium

The England football team is set to go on the road with the national governing body set to plough millions back into the grassroots of the game

Daniel Orme
Thursday 26 April 2018 14:26 BST
FA poised to sell Wembley Stadium in £800m deal with England set to go on the road

The FA have confirmed that they have received an £800m offer to sell Wembley Stadium.

The England football team is set to go on the road with the national governing body set to plough millions back into the grassroots of the game.

The potentially lucrative deal has been proposed by current Fulham owner Shahid Khan.

But who exactly is the American billionaire about to get the keys to English football's headquarters?

Who is he?

Khan is a 67-year-old Pakistani-American billionaire. He was born in Lahore, Punjab in 1950 and eventually became an American citizen in 1991 after moving to the United States in 1967.

He graduated from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois with a BSc in Industrial Engineering only four years after arriving in America. Khan was also awarded the Mechanical Science and Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.

His net worth as of August 2017 was approximately over $8.7 billion. This allowed Forbes to estimate that Khan was at the time the 158th wealthiest person in the world.

Khan is set to buy Wembley Stadium (Getty) (GETTY IMAGES)

How did he build his worth?

Whilst at University, Khan worked for Flex-N-Gate, a company that designed car bumpers. He eventually went on to become an engineering director of the company. His fortune first started to develop in 1978 when he set up his own company, Bumper Works, which he eventually joined with his former employers after purchasing them in 1980.

As of 2011, the company boasted 12,450 employees at over 48 different locations around the US.

Where does sport come in?

Khan made his first venture into sports in 2010 when he attempted to purchase the majority of NFL franchise St. Louis Rams but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Almost two years later however, he became the first member of an ethnic minority to purchase an NFL team as he agreed a deal to buy the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Khan’s first appearance in England was back in 2013 when he agreed a deal to buy Fulham from former owner Mohamed Al Fayed. The purchase was ratified for a fee reported to be in the region of £150million. Fulham however were relegated that season with Khan attempting to get them back into the Premier League ever since.

This deal, however, would represent a whole new level of influence.

Khan bought Fulham back in 2013 (PA)

What is his interest in Wembley?

The move for him to purchase Wembley could see an increase in the number of NFL games hosted in London. Khan could bring his Jacksonville Jaguars over, increasing the possibility of having a permanent NFL team outside of the US, the first of its kind.

He also could potentially own naming rights to the stadium once the FA’s current deal with EE expires in 2020.

He also hopes to raise the profile of the Jaguars, not one of the league's historically popular franchises, both here and back in the US.

What has he said?

Following the announcement on Thursday afternoon, Khan released two statements, one via Fulham and one with the Jags.

With the NFL franchise, Khan moved to allay fears that the team could potentially move outside of the US. He said: “Today’s news changes none of what we envision for the long-term promise for the Jaguars here in Jax, and it changes nothing as to the goals we have for your downtown. If anything, today’s news is the embodiment of the ethos we adopted several years ago of being proud, bold and committed.”

Jacksonville have played a regular season game at Wembley every year since 2013 (Getty)

He also reaffirmed his commitment to Fulham despite the purchase of Wembley. He said: “No matter what the outcome of our offer may be, I want to emphatically state to you that none of this will have any effect on my commitment to your Club.

“To be clear, this venture is 100 per cent independent of my investment in and operation of Fulham Football Club, Motspur Park and Craven Cottage. No less attention will be paid to developing players and fielding a squad that will win with frequency and always make you proud. It will have no impact on Craven Cottage as the home of FFC. And this is imperative to know, and I encourage you to spread the word – absolutely nothing changes in our plans to redevelop the Riverside Stand.”

In both statements, Khan also confirmed that Wembley would remain the home of the England national team. He said: “Always know Wembley would be home to the England national teams, and that we would strive every day of the year to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic and beloved here and throughout the world.”

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