London’s iconic Wembley stadium may appear relatively new to the uninformed onlooker, and the assumption would not be completely in the wrong. The stadium was, after all, erected as recently as 2007. However, it’s also true that the stadium was erected on the original Wembley stadium site, which dates back as far as 1923. Wembley is synonymous with English football, and it would border on heresy to even consider the Northern London landmark being referred to by any other name.
Such is the nature of one of the conditions laid down by Britain’s government, in the event that potential buyer Shahid Khan is successful in his bid to acquire the home of English football. The other condition is a number of strict limitations on sponsorships involving the stadium, one of which is a very specific ban on any sponsorship by gambling companies.
The word is still out on whether Khan, who already owns English Premier League club Fulham F.C., as well as the National Football League’s the Jacksonville Jaguars, will be willing or able to adhere to all of the conditions attached to the £600 million purchase. According to various sources, England’s Football Association will make an announcement later this year concerning whether the sale will proceed or be halted in its tracks.
The main concern is the preservation of the historic status of the stadium. Whoever does end up acquiring the purchasing rights, will not be allowed to rename the stadium until 2057. The ban on gambling sponsorship deals apparently stems from the fact that it would be considered in ill taste as this could be misconstrued as double standards, due to the fact that footballers are not permitted to bet on the outcome of football matches. This was the official reason provided when the FA ended its partnership with Ladbrokes in 2017.
Another condition that has been levied as a condition of sale is that any new owner will have to obtain special permission in order to sell the venue to a next buyer in line. In effect, each new buyer will have to be pre-approved by government in order for there to be any deal at all.