The English FA’s controversial proposed sale of Wembley Stadium for £600 million to Fulham’s American owner Shahid Khan could be scuppered amid emerging allegations of “systemic corruption” at the club.
The 127-member FA Council meets tomorrow (Thursday) in the first stage of the process of whether to approve the board’s recommendation to sell Wembley. They will have two weeks following the meeting to make their decision.
However, allegations by Fulham’s former assistant director of football, Craig Kline, of corrupt business practices at the club once again raise cast suspicion over Khan’s Wembley acquisition and move the NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars to London in 2022.
Kline, a childhood friend of Fulham vice chairman Tony Khan, claims he has evidence of the “tapping up” of players as well as racism.
On Monday he tweeted: “Dear FA Council (+relevant police, MPs, regulators, press etc). I have key evidence of systemic corruption relevant to the Wembley vote which I’d like to submit. Please request this info from me.”
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He says that Khan had threatened him to keep quiet over his claims. Police officers had been called to Fulham’s Motspur Park training ground last year following claims of threatening behaviour.
The FA said in a statement: “We have recently been contacted by Craig Kline who has made a series of allegations about Fulham FC. We are currently in the process of reviewing these allegations.”
For his part Khan denies the allegations, saying via a spokesman: “This is nothing more than the same ongoing nonsense and bogus claims made by a former employee who left the club in 2017. Nothing here merits a further response.”
Nonsense or not, the suspicions around the sale of Wembley remain, with the FA Council currently split over whether to approve the sale or not. The corruption allegations surrounding the buyer will need to be taken seriously, particularly with a Metropolitan Police investigation reported by the Daily Telegraph ass now being under way.
While money doesn’t discriminate, the holders of it in this case are accused of exactly that. The FA will need to look hard at the integrity issues now surrounding Khan on top of the deal-making practices, and decide whether it is still appropriate to cash in on Wembley.