Wembley set to host 2023 Champions League final to mark centenary year of opening of original stadium

4 Sep

Wembley will be confirmed as the host stadium for the 2023 Champions League final later this month, reports claim.

According to the Associated Press, the ground in north-west London has been selected for the European Cup final to mark the centenary year of the opening of the original Wembley in 1923.

Wembley holds 90,000 people and last hosted the Champions League final in 2013
Getty Images - Getty

The new Wembley has staged two Champions League finals since opening in 2006, with Barcelona beating Manchester United under the arch in 2011, and Borussia Dortmund losing to Bayern Munich in an all-German affair two years later.

Before the old Wembley was closed in 2000 it had hosted five European Cup finals, though had never staged one since the competition was rebranded as the Champions League in 1992.

The official announcement of Wembley being selected to host the 2023 final will be made later this month, at UEFA’s executive committee meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia on September 24.

UEFA will also confirm the hosts for the 2021 and 2022 finals, with Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena and Bayern’s Allianz Arena to stage each final respectively.

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The 68,000-capacity Gazprom Arena has never hosted a Champions League final, though it was used as a host stadium throughout last summer’s World Cup.

The Allianz Arena, opened in 2005, last staged the showpiece match in 2012, when Chelsea won their first European Cup by beating Bayern on their home turf.

Aston Villa sign Wembley hero Anwar El Ghazi from Lille on permanent basis

10 Jun

Aston Villa have completed the permanent signing of Anwar El Ghazi from Lille.

The Netherlands winger, 24, has agreed a four-year contract after spending last season on loan with Dean Smith’s side.

Anwar El Ghazi was Villa’s Wembley hero last month
Getty

El Ghazi starred in Villa’s Championship play-off final win over Derby last month, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 victory which ended their three-year exile from the Premier League.

Villans boss Smith told the club’s website: “Anwar proved to everybody at Wembley how good a player he can be for Aston Villa.

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“He’s ready for the step up to the Premier League and he’s a young player who has an awful lot of potential.

“It’s now my job and the job of the coaching staff and Anwar himself to fulfil the potential that he undoubtedly has.

“He’ll be a great addition to the squad for next season.”

El Ghazi is Villa’s second arrival of the summer after the club signed Jota from arch rivals Birmingham last week.

Villa are also hoping to re-sign loan stars Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings from Wolves and Bournemouth respectively after their loan spells at Villa Park during 2018/19.

Hause appears to be surplus to requirements at Molineux, while the Cherries’ £12million signing of highly-rated Wales defender Chris Mepham in January pushed Mings further down the pecking order.

Charlton vs Sunderland First Division play-off final: Where are they now?

24 May

Charlton take on Sunderland in the League One play-off final on Sunday, LIVE on talkSPORT.

It is a repeat of the two sides’ memorable 1998 First Division final, which ended in a 4-4 draw as the Addicks won on penalties, except this time, they’re fighting for a place in the Championship.

Charlton won promotion in dramatic fashion 21 years ago
Getty

A Clive Mendonca hat-trick made him a Charlton hero as Sasa Ilic broke Sunderland hearts by saving the decisive penalty from Micky Gray.

Now, Sunderland will be out to avenge that defeat by making an instant return to the second tier.

But what are Charlton and Sunderland players from that legendary game doing now? talkSPORT take a look.

Charlton XI

Charlton will be hoping to overcome Sunderland in a play-off final once again
Getty

Sasa Ilic (GK)

After his Wembley heroics, Ilic could not prevent Charlton from making a swift return to England’s second tier. He now owns a boutique hotel in Montenegro called Monte Bay Retreat.

Danny Mills (RB)

Mills moved to Leeds following Charlton’s relegation in 1999. He made a brief return on loan at the Valley in 2007 before retiring due to a knee injury in 2008. The former England defender works in finance now while he is also a regular pundit on talkSPORT.

Richard Rufus (CB)

Rufus spent his whole career at Charlton. He was involved in the club’s academy set-up and the Community Trust, but left those roles after he was found guilty of fraud.

Rufus was a one-club man but things haven’t gone to plan after football

Eddie Youds (CB)

Youds works as a property development manager in London.

Mark Bowen (LB)

Bowen retired a year after Charlton’s promotion-winning day. He has been an assistant to Mark Hughes with Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke and Southampton.

Shaun Newton (RM)

Newton had spells with Wolves, West Ham and Leicester after leaving Charlton in 2001. In 2007, he was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 100 hours community service.

Mark Kinsella (CM)

Mark Kinsella captained Charlton to promotion
Getty

Kinsella played for the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 World Cup and went on to represent Aston Villa, West Brom, Walsall and non-league club Lewes. He was the assistant manager of Colchester for two years from 2012, before moving to Drogheda United in Ireland, where he still works as a coach.

Keith Jones (CM)

He coached the Atlanta Silverbacks Women in the US in 2006 before taking up a position at Arizona youth club SC del Sol three years later.

Neil Heaney (LM)

He retired from football in 2002 and is the founder and chief executive of Judicare, a solicitors firm in England.

Clive Mendonca (ST)

Mendonca finished his career with Charlton in 2002. A boyhood Sunderland fan, he returned to Wearside and ended up working at a local Nissan factory.

Mendonca was a hero at the Valley for his goal-scoring exploits
Getty Images

Mark Bright (ST)

Bright spent just two seasons at Charlton before retiring. He is a club ambassador for Crystal Palace and works as a TV pundit.

Substitutes:

John Robinson

Robinson was named in Charlton’s Hall of Fame in 2017. He runs the John Robinson Soccer USA school.

Steve Brown

Brown managed Ebbsfleet United during the 2013/14 season and has coached at Dover and Margate. He works for BBC London radio as a matchday commentator.

Steve Jones

Jones is the founder of Langdon Pumas, a youth football club based in Essex.

Manager: Alan Curbishley

Alan Curbishley is a Charlton legend
Getty

Curbishley is regarded as a Charlton legend for consolidating the club in England’s top-flight. He left the Addicks for West Ham in 2006, but was sacked after two years. He has had stints at Fulham as a technical director and coach and now works as a TV pundit.

Sunderland XI

Sunderland suffered penalty shootout heartbreak
Getty

Lionel Perez (GK)

Following the play-off final defeat, Perez boldly left Sunderland to join arch rivals Newcastle before playing for Cambridge, Enfield, Chelmsford City and Stevenage Borough. He has a UEFA B license coaching badge, but has not returned to football since leaving Stevenage Borough as a goalkeeping coach.

Darren Holloway (RB)

Holloway was taken off at half-time at Wembley. He is now the assistant manager of Blyth Spartans and works at East Durham College’s football academy.

Jody Craddock (CB)

Former defensive hard man Craddock is well known for his spells with Sunderland and Wolves. Since retiring in 2013, he has taken up an interest in art. He held his first exhibition of his work at the Antidote Art Gallery in 2015. The 43-year-old has his own art company called Art Affect.

Darren Williams (CB)

Williams became player-manager of Whitby Town in 2011 before being sacked four years later.

Micky Gray (LB)

Micky Gray battles for the ball against Danny Mills
Getty

Gray went on to have spells at Celtic, Blackburn, Leeds, Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday before hanging up his boots in 2010. He works as a pundit for talkSPORT and other media outlets.

Nicky Summerbee (RM)

He did not play too much football after leaving Sunderland in 2001, despite signing for Bolton, Nottingham Forest, Leicester, Bradford, Swindon, Tranmere and Tamworth. He is a regular TV pundit for Al Kass, a television network in Doha.

Lee Clark (CM)

Clark moved to Fulham and then back to Newcastle before retiring in 2006. He has managed Huddersfield, Birmingham, Blackpool, Kilmarnock and Bury. The 46-year-old has been out of work since leaving Bury in 2017.

Clark was last in charge of Bury in 2017
Getty Images

Kevin Ball (CM)

Former Sunderland captain Ball is a club ambassador at the Stadium of Light. His two spells in caretaker charge at the Black Cats came in 2006 and 2013.

Allan Johnston (LM)

Johnston has managed Queen of the South, Kilmarnock and Dunfermline Athletic since retiring. He returned for a second spell at Queen of the South earlier this month.

Niall Quinn (ST)

Quinn’s two goals were not enough to down Charlton in the play-off final. He is a former player, manager and owner of Sunderland. The ex-Republic of Ireland international was replaced as chairman by Ellis Short in 2011. He is now the chairman of Q Sat, a broadband company in Ireland.

Kevin Phillips (ST)

Kevin Phillips was Sunderland’s talisman
Getty

The legendary Sunderland striker has had coaching roles at Leicester, Derby and Stoke. He left his position at the Potters following Gary Rowett’s sacking in January.

Substitutes:

Chris Makin

The defender was forced to retire with a serious hip injury in 2008. He works as a property manager in Cheshire.

Alex Rae

Rae has managed Dundee and St Mirren in Scotland since retiring in 2010. He is currently out of work.

Danny Dichio

Dichio ended his career in the MLS with Toronto FC and has stayed out there. He is part of Toronto’s academy set-up and works as a pundit for Canadian sport shows.

Manager: Peter Reid

Reid left Sunderland in 2002 before having spells with Coventry, Thailand, Plymouth and Mumbai City. He is part of Paul Cook’s backroom staff at Wigan.

Charlton vs Sunderland play-off final: Sasa Ilic will be at Wembley 21 years after his heroics – and wants promotion party he never had

23 May

Sasa Ilic hopes to celebrate with Charlton’s players if they beat Sunderland in Sunday’s League One play-off final – 21 years after his Wembley heroics.

The Addicks legend will be cheering on his former club with some of his old team-mates at Wembley this weekend.

Sasa Ilic was Charlton’s hero in their last visit to Wembley
Getty

Ilic saved the decisive penalty in a shootout victory over the Black Cats to send his side into the top-flight in 1998.

He revealed he and his team-mates were too exhausted to party into the night following the emotions of the game, which ended in a 4-4 draw, but wants to make up for lost time with Charlton’s current stars.

Ilic told talkSPORT: “You tend to remember the feelings more than the memories.

“It was overwhelming, especially with me coming from nowhere, knocking on Charlton’s door and within 12 months playing at Wembley and saving the decisive penalty.

“I just hope Charlton will have the same result as we did 21 years ago.

“During the shootout, we were scoring, they were scoring, so it got to a point where I said ‘what can I do to make a save?’

Charlton will be hoping to overcome Sunderland in a play-off final once again
Getty

“I saw a 10p coin and I flicked it for a couple of penalties and for the one that I saved, it landed on heads which was me diving to my left, and fortunately for me, it was the right decision. And the rest was history.

“If somebody had watched us from afar [at the hotel], they would’ve thought we’d lost the game.

“We were so mentally and physically drained, so once we got to the hotel, we all sat down, there were a few speeches, we had a meal and a couple of drinks, but we were all exhausted. I was in bed by 11pm!

The Charlton players celebrated wildly after Ilic’s match-winning penalty save
Getty

“We celebrated when we had the tour bus around Greenwich, Charlton and Blackheath, but I don’t think we ever got together to specifically celebrate that victory on that day.

“On the day we were supposed to celebrate, we were all pretty much exhausted to do that.

“But maybe we can do it on Sunday if Charlton win, and join the two teams together.”

Ilic, who owns a boutique hotel called the Monte Bay Retreat in Montenegro, made 62 appearances for Charlton between 1997 and 2002.

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And after Doncaster’s Tommy Rowe put his penalty wide to book Charlton’s place in the play-off final last Friday, Ilic bought a plane ticket to London ‘two minutes after the game’.

He said: “I watched the game and I was very confident Charlton would win.

“I was on the internet booking my flight to London, but as the game progressed Doncaster scored and then there was a penalty shootout.

“I could barely watch it, but luckily for us, we won and now it’s up to the final. I booked my flight immediately, literally two minutes after the game.

“Charlton have confirmed tickets for us ex-pros and we’ll be going.

Charlton will need their talisman Lyle Taylor on top of his game on Sunday
Getty

“I had a brief word with [my old Charlton team-mate] Steve Brown and [former Addicks assistant] Keith Peacock, but I’m looking forward to catching up with everybody on Sunday. We’ll have a nice little reunion.”

Charlton goalkeeper Dillon Phillips denied 26-goal striker John Marquis in their shootout victory over Doncaster.

Phillips has established himself as the Addicks’ No.1 this season, helping them record the second meanest defence in League One.

Ilic has been impressed by the 23-year-old’s performances and wants Lee Bowyer’s men to enjoy the club’s first trip to the new Wembley.

He added: “It was a very good penalty save. He’s a very decent goalkeeper. He looks the part, definitely. Fingers crossed he’ll do the same on Sunday.

“The advice I’d give to the players is to thoroughly enjoy the moment because it’s not every day you get to play at Wembley in a crucial game like the play-off final.

“My advice would be to leave their heart and their soul on the pitch, try their very best and whatever the outcome, try to enjoy the day.”

The League One play-off final between Charlton and Sunderland is LIVE on talkSPORT on 26 May at 3pm.

Tottenham should play at Wembley for the rest of the season, claims Simon Jordan, amid further delays to the new stadium

9 Jan

Tottenham should suck up the ridicule and play at Wembley for the rest of the season, according to former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan.

Delays to the redeveloped White Hart Lane have continued after the club announced they will play four more fixtures at the national stadium.

It is the latest in a long string of setbacks to the new ground, which was supposed to open way back in September, and reports suggest it will not be ready until mid-March.

However, Jordan believes moving to the new stadium during this campaign would now risk derailing Tottenham’s fine season.

Tottenham’s new stadium was due to open in September 2018

“If they do [play in the new stadium this season], it would be a foolish thing to do,” Jordan told talkSPORT host Jim White.

“There are where they are right now: they’re 50% through the season, they’re in a successful season for a variety of reasons.

Confirmed Tottenham fixtures to be played at Wembley

13/01: Manchester United (Premier League)

30/01: Watford (Premier League)

02/02: Newcastle (Premier League)

10/02: Leicester (Premier League)

13/02: Borussia Dortmund (Champions League)

“They’re performing well in the Premier League, the cups and the Champions League.

“Clearly there are reasons behind this that we’re not entirely privy to. We had issues back at the beginning of the season when they were talking about ‘alarm testing’ and the ‘final phases’.

Tottenham may not be able to move into their new stadium until mid-March

“Now, four months after the event, this should be done and dusted.

“The idea of getting it open for the beginning of the season was a really tall order for them and they should just draw a line under it.

“Take the pain now, take the ridicule that’s going to come out because there will be segments of the media and their own fans that say it’s not good enough.

The club have confirmed four more fixtures to be played at Wembley

“But they are building a phenomenal stadium. I would just draw a line under it now and say: ‘we’ll play there next year’.”

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has apologised for the latest delay and promised further updates within the next three weeks.

A statement read: “I should like to apologise to our fans and thank you for your continued patience.

“The response from those who attended the familiarisation event was great to hear and reinforced our commitment to deliver an exceptional matchday experience for everyone. We shall now seek clarity in respect of building test schedules and test event dates and provide further information on these in the next two to three weeks.”

Tottenham may be forced to wait until after the north London derby against Arsenal at the beginning of March before they open the arena, due to safety concerns.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City: How NFL and Wembley ground staff have worked round the clock to ensure pitch is fine for Premier League clash

29 Oct

Monday night’s fixture between Tottenham and Manchester City is expected to be played on one of the worst pitches the Premier League has seen in many, many years.

Due to the continuing issues regarding Spurs’ new stadium – which has still not opened – tonight’s match had to be moved to the north Londoners’ temporary home of Wembley.

There is still no official opening date for Tottenham’s new stadium

Furthermore, the fixture also had to be pushed back by 24 hours so Wembley could host it, as there was NFL action at the national stadium on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles beat Jacksonville Jaguars in front of a record NFL attendance for a match played in England, while yesterday’s clash also recorded the second largest crowd for a single venue in this NFL season, only behind Dallas.

However, there have been complaints over the NFL’s use of Wembley just one day before Spurs take on Manchester City.

The pitch was clearly being cut up as Sunday’s match wore on, with pictures taken after the action finished showing serious issues with the surface.

The repetitive nature of American football resulted in the centre of the pitch suffering serious damage
Pictures taken after the match showed numerous imperfections across the surface

However, the NFL have been doing all they can to ensure the pitch is in the best possible condition before tonight’s big kick-off.

A special agreement was made for Sunday’s match for NFL staff to work throughout the night and have the entire stadium vacated by 8am this morning. This was done at a cost to themselves, and if the NFL refused to agree with these conditions, tonight’s match would not have even been able to take place.

Furthermore, ground staff were working on the pitch for hours after the final whistle; they were clearing the pitch markings, cutting the grass, and working on divets individually from one end of the pitch towards the middle.

While the NFL has been criticised for the pitch’s condition, Wembley has had clear issues for over a month, with the centre circle especially looking woeful since the stadium hosted Anthony Joshua’s defeat of Alexander Povetkin on September 22.

The above picture, taken by Jaguars Radio Network host J.P. Shadrick, shows the pitch BEFORE Sunday’s NFL action got under way.

talkSPORT’s own Will Gavin was at the match, and noted his observations on Twitter.

This is not the first occasion Wembley has hosted football soon after an American football clash, and the 30.5 hours between Sunday’s match ending and Monday’s getting under way seems huge when we step back to 1991.

On a Saturday evening that year, Wembley hosted a match between London Monarchs and Orlando Thunder with Crystal Palace and Everton clashing in the Zenith Data Systems Cup just 19 hours later on Sunday afternoon.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino confident Wembley pitch will be playable for Manchester City clash

26 Oct

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino expects the Wembley pitch to be in playable condition for their Premier League clash with Manchester City on Monday.

Spurs face the champions under the arch just 24 hours after the NFL match between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Pochettino played down fears over the Wembley turf

Playing the game on Monday night was Tottenham’s only option as their new stadium is not ready, with the club today announcing further delays until 2019.

NFL games have left the Wembley turf in bad condition in the past, but the Spurs boss is confident the groundstaff can do a good job, though he joked it might benefit his team if they do not.

“Maybe it is good for us because we are going to face one of the best teams in Europe and the world in Manchester City and maybe it will help us,” he said. “It wasn’t a plan for us to play in that period at Wembley and now we cannot complain.

“Only we need to accept the reality and know that we cannot change that.

“We hope that the weather will be good and not kill the pitch and we can play in a very good condition.

Wembley will host the NFL on Sunday

“I am sure all the people that are involved in the pitch are going to work so hard to get it in a really good condition. That is my wish and I hope it can happen.”

The rearranged fixture comes just 48 hours before Spurs have to go to West Ham in the Carabao Cup and is one of five games in 12 days.

Pochettino accepts the packed schedule is in part due to their stadium delay and is not making excuses.

“That is not the ideal situation to compete, we have a problem, we create the problem and we need to sort the problem,” he added. “We can’t complain, we are a little bit unlucky that the stadium is not finished.

“It was not the plan to be at Wembley, different things can happen like the NFL and you cannot change the date and we need to accept that as reality and not complain.”

Guardiola will not alter his team selection

City boss Pep Guardiola accepts the solution is not ideal but will not hold back any players, including Kevin De Bruyne, who only made his first start after two months out injured in midweek.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the City boss said: “It’s what it is. I’m pretty sure Tottenham have a good greenkeeper.

“I’m pretty sure the Premier League don’t like it, Tottenham too, but hopefully Tottenham can finish the stadium as quickly as possible. It’s not necessary to complain, we have to adapt quickly, try to figure it out. It will not be perfect but we have to adapt and play in that way.”

Tottenham stadium update: Spurs confirm remaining 2018 home games will be played at Wembley

26 Oct

Tottenham will not move into their new stadium until next year, as the club announce their remaining home games in 2018 will be played at Wembley.

Chairman Daniel Levy admits he doesn’t know when the redeveloped White Hart Lane will be ready, despite telling manager Mauricio Pochettino the club hoped to move in before Christmas.

Tottenham do net yet know when they will move into their new stadium

Spurs had originally planned to move into their new 62,062-seater stadium in September but construction issues have seen its opening continually pushed back.

Levy blamed missed deadlines by constructors and other uncontrollable factors for the latest delay.

It means the next possible moving-in day is January 13, when the club face Manchester United in the Premier League, four months after the stadium was due to open on September 15 against Liverpool.

There is also the possibility of a third-round FA Cup tie the weekend before if Spurs are drawn at home and the stadium is ready.

TOTTENHAM'S REMAINING HOME FIXTURES IN 2018

Manchester City – 29/10

PSV Eindhoven – 06/11

Chelsea – 24/11

Inter Milan – 28/11

Southampton – 05/12

Burnley – 15/12

Bournemouth – 26/12

Wolves – 29/12

Levy said in a statement: “There isn’t an hour that goes by when I am not asked when we will be able to stage our first game at our new home.

“I wish I was able to confirm an exact opening date and fixture. However, in light of factors completely outside of our control, contractors missing deadlines and possible future unforeseen issues, we are naturally being cautious in respect of our timetable for our test events and official opening game.

“Whilst we are conscious of the need to keep pressure on our contractors to deliver as soon as possible, we are also acutely aware of how difficult the lack of clarity is for you, our supporters, to plan around games, particularly those at Christmas and New Year.

Wembley will host the rest of Spurs’ home games in 2018

“In light of the above, and taking into account the restricted availability of manpower over the festive period, we have taken the decision to confirm today that all home games will be played at Wembley Stadium up to and including the game against Wolves on 29 December.”

Spurs will take a heavy financial hit from the delay – each game moved to Wembley results in 1/19 of season ticket costs being refunded to fans.

The club must also pay a rental fee to Wembley for every game played there, at a rate which gets more expensive game-by-game, while staffing costs could rise over the Christmas period.

Simon Jordan rants at the FA over Wembley Stadium sale and says bosses Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn MUST go

18 Oct

Simon Jordan has blasted the Football Association, saying theyreside over debacle over debacle’ after their plans to sell Wembley Stadium to Fulham owner Shahid Khan fell through.

American billionaire Khan had offered £600million to purchase the national stadium, a deal FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn were said to be strongly in favour of.

The bosses had wanted to use the money to invest in grassroots and community football and boost public facilities up and down the country.

FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn

However, Khan announced on Wednesday that he had withdrawn his offer on the grounds that only a minority of the FA Council were behind his takeover.

Jordan was also strongly against the idea of selling the Home of Football to foreign ownership.

But the former Crystal Palace owner sees the collapsed deal as just another failure under the tutelage of Clarke and Glenn and has called for both bosses to step down from their roles.

He told talkSPORT host Jim White on Thursday: “The FA reside over debacle over debacle.

“I think it’s difficult to make a case for Martin Glenn and Greg Clarke not to go.

“Khan is stepping away because it’s a mess, because he doesn’t want to be party to a mess, because Glenn and Clarke can’t sell it. They can’t get it across the line. They can’t take the easy route of selling an asset under value to fund a situation which, in part, has been created by the FA itself.

“Khan knows this is toxic right now, so he’s putting it back on the FA and saying, ‘get this mess sorted out and maybe I will come back and buy your stadium off you and do you a favour’.”

Listen to Simon Jordan’s rant against the FA and the sale of Wembley Stadium IN FULL above!

Wembley will not be sold after Fulham owner Shahid Khan withdraws offer to buy stadium, FA announce

17 Oct

Wembley will not be sold by the Football Association after Shahid Khan withdrew his offer to buy the stadium.

The Fulham owner had offered the FA £600million in cash for the stadium, as well as letting it keep the Club Wembley hospitality business, worth around another £300million.

Wembley will not be sold

FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn were both strongly in favour of the deal and wanted to use the money to fix England’s dilapidated changing rooms, water-logged pitches and stretched 3G facilities.

They hoped Khan’s £600million could be the catalyst for a total investment in community facilities over the next 20 years of £3.3billion, more than double what the Football Foundation and Sport England have been able to do since 2000.

But in separate statements, Glenn admitted the proposed sale had been “more divisive than anticipated”, while Khan said it had become clear “there is no definitive mandate to sell Wembley and my current proposal, subsequently, would earn the backing of only a slim majority of the FA Council, well short of the conclusive margin the FA chairman has required”.

This has been on the cards ever since last week’s council meeting proved just how split football was on the idea, with some seeing it as a gilt-edged opportunity to solve one of football’s most expensive problems, while others likened it to selling the family silver and questioned the FA’s ability to invest the windfall wisely.

Football Association rubbish claims Martin Glenn wants to quit as CEO following controversy
Martin Glenn was in favour of the deal to sell Wembley

Glenn said: “We fully respect his decision. Mr Khan believed that his offer to buy Wembley Stadium would release funds to help improve community football facilities in England and that it would be well received by all football stakeholders.

“At a recent meeting with Mr Khan he expressed to us that, without stronger support from within the game, his offer is being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be and has decided to withdraw his proposal.

“Wembley Stadium is an iconic venue that is revered around world and it will continue to thrive under the ownership and direction of The FA.”

As well as having the support of the FA’s senior leadership, the proposed deal was backed by the government and the professional game, but there were significant doubts elsewhere, most notably at the grassroots level itself.”

In a statement, Khan said: “The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them.

“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 favoured by the FA Chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.

Khan felt the deal could not be done with split opinions

“Wembley is indeed a national treasure, one I would care for and respect for generations.

“I recognise the passion many people have for Wembley and what it means to English football, and will be willing to re-engage with the FA on this matter under proper circumstances.”

Khan had eventually hoped to use Wembley as a home for his NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and was willing to agree to a number of highly restrictive conditions on how he would run the national stadium, most notably in terms of maintaining it as a venue for all of English football’s biggest games.

Khan’s decision to withdraw the offer has been described as a “huge disappointment” and a missed opportunity by two of the biggest sponsors of grassroots facilities.

The UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation, would have been the vehicle the FA used to pick, manage and fund the projects, as it currently does with the funding it receives from the FA, Premier League and government.

In a statement, it said: “News that Mr Khan has decided to withdraw his offer to buy Wembley should come as a huge disappointment to community footballers everywhere.

“Football participation in this country is huge. Unfortunately, those who play the game, simply for the love of doing so and for the health benefits are having to put up with a stock of community football facilities that is in a shameful state.

“This would have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make considerable inroads into probably the most pressing issue facing football in this country.”

Nick Bitel, the chair of Sport England, the government agency that funds grassroots sport, was more measured but his disappointment was equally plain.

“We agree with the view that the Wembley Stadium offer was a huge opportunity to boost funding into the development and maintenance of artificial and grass pitches up and down the country,” he said.

“Now that this deal is off the table, we hope the football family will now consider other ways the much-needed additional funds for grassroots facilities can be generated.”