PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor explains how the sale of Wembley stadium would help grassroots football in England
Professional Footballers Association chairman Gordon Taylor can understand concerns over the potential sale of Wembley Stadium, but can see the benefits for grassroots football.
Taylor was present at a meeting of the Football Association Council on Tuesday where Fulham owner Shahid Khan’s offer to buy the national stadium was one of the main parts of the agenda.
Khan, also owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise, made an offer worth more than £800m for Wembley Stadium last month.
FA chairman Greg Clarke said that any deal would benefit the lower reaches of the English game and, while Taylor can see why the sale has led to public criticism and concern, he said there can be a positive side to it.
Clarke confirmed at the meeting that the FA is “a long way from making any decision” that would not be made until the autumn at the very earliest.
“It could well be a real gift for grassroots football, on the face of it, to create new pitches, better facilities to have a whole momentum for the grassroots game,” Taylor told Sky Sports News.
“In inner city areas there is a real need for facilities and if local government and authorities do not have the money for it, if it could come from football they would be pleased to see it. From that point of view, it could give a real boost to the game.
“On the other hand, with it being the national stadium, there is great love and affection for it and would it be like selling the crown jewels or Buckingham Palace.”
The deal could see England return to staging games in other parts of the country, as happened when the new stadium was under construction.
And Taylor has no issue with that, as he added: “I think there was a general understanding that it would be no bad thing for the England team to go around the country because I think there does need to be that feeling they are here for everybody.”