It has definitely been an interesting Thursday involving the owner of the Jaguars, Shad Khan, and his intent to purchase famed Wembley Stadium in London.
Not only that, the rumor-mongering from the British press continues that Khan maybe looking to either move the Jags to London completely, or is seriously considering splitting half of their home schedule between TIAA Bank field in Jacksonville and London.
First, about the purchase of Wembley itself. As we have written, Khan is currently the highest bidder and the front-runner to acquire the stadium for over $700 million U.S. dollars. And, Thursday afternoon in London the Football Association or “FA,” which governs the entire sport in England, met and discussed Khans bid.
While there was a definite possibility that they could have gone ahead and approved the sale to the Jaguars owner, who also owns the English Premier League team Fulham FC, the FA chose not to do that Thursday.
Instead, they have elected to hold a special meeting of the FA Council on Wednesday October 24th to address mounting opposition from the over 22,000 members of the FA. That includes soccer teams, referees, adult and youth players, coaches, volunteers and members of the public that are part of the organization.
The governing body announced after their Thursday meeting that they want to take all of the opposition into consideration before rubber-stamping the sale to the billionaire Khan, who is a Pakistani immigrant to the U.S.
Now, for the part that fans in North Florida are tired of hearing, but will not go away. The London Daily Mail reported Thursday afternoon that Khan is looking seriously into playing multiple, if not all Jaguar home games at Wembley Stadium to enhance the cash flow and offset his purchase price. However, the article does point out there are severe U.S. and British tax consequences for Khan and for his players and organization, if he moves operations to London.
The Daily Mail says that one theory that makes sense is: that the team would remain based in Jacksonville year-round, including having training camp in Jacksonville and playing up to four games at TIAA Bank Field. However, they would then replace the entire NFL International Series with four Jaguar games being played at Wembley Stadium, as the other half of the Jags regular season home schedule.
It’s important to point out, that this is only a speculative theory.
And, most importantly, that the NFL and its owners would have to approve such an arrangement with a 3/4 vote. And, this is assuming the Khan would even want to split half a season in London home games in the first place.
There’s also a strong argument and, this is where the NFL players Association might get involved, it would be completely unfair to the Jaguar players. You would essentially be having them play four home games in Jacksonville and 12 games away from Jacksonville that you would have to travel to. Clearly, it’s an unfair situation to single out one team and its players, and put them at competitive disadvantage for division and playoff purposes.
Khan released this official statement Thursday afternoon with regard to the FA meeting and action on scheduling another meeting in 13 days:
Latest from Shad Khan on offer to buy Wembley after plans were presented to FA Council pic.twitter.com/VoHhhzooPY
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) October 11, 2018
The Jaguars had no official comment over the last two days on any of the reports in the London media specifically, that Khan still intends to move the Jaguars to Jacksonville in 2022 or shortly thereafter, once he owns Wembley Stadium.
They will play the Philadelphia Eagles at Wembley four days after the special meeting on Sunday October 28th.
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