Zapsportz.com can exclusively reveal that Wednesday 9 May is Showdown Day in the battle for Wembley Stadium’s future.
The FA sent out a notice to FA members earlier this week that the Wembley bid of nearly £1 billion by Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan will be discussed first by the National Game Board in the morning of May 9 and then the Professional Game Board in the afternoon of the same day.
Zapsportz.com spoke exclusively to the FA’s senior vice-President Sir Dave Richards, who was among the FA bigwigs who received their notice of the meetings on May 9.
Sir Dave, still one of the most influential figure in world football, said: “We shall be asking the question: ‘What is the reason for the potential sale of Wembley?'”
Sir Dave, long-standing as one of the most powerful individuals inside the Premier League, is clearly one of the most powerful voices opposing the sale of Wembley at first sight of the proposals and it would take some u-turn to persuade the Wembley sale opponents to change their views.
Richard Caborn, the Labour sports minister at the time of Wembley’s rebuild, knows football has enough money already to fund grassroots facilities properly.
“I am not against what the FA is trying to do but you don’t need to sell the family silver,” Caborn said. “With the money in the Premier League, they should be giving a lot more to the grassroots and the FA should as well, with the money from selling TV rights to the England team’s matches. They could also be more imaginative about releasing more funds from Wembley.”
The Premier League currently contributes £24m annually to the Football Foundation for grassroots facilities, which is matched by the FA and government. Overall the Premier League contributes £100m to facilities and school and social inclusion projects, 3.6% of its £2.8bn annual TV deal.
But that is hardly enough and the clubs continue to waste money on dud transfers and exorbitant salaries and, worse still, so much money on agents fees, which equate to as much as could be diverted into grass roots football if agents’ fees were outlawed.
Clubs could simply do business club-to-club and cut out the middlemen, whose only purpose seems to be to push up transfer fees, salaries and thereby their own commissions and cuts.
There are measures the game’s rulers could take to plough money into grass roots football, without selling Wembley.