England manager Gareth Southgate has reiterated his stance that any money from the potential sale of Wembley must be reinvested in the right areas.
The proposed sale of the national stadium to American billionaire Shahid Khan will go to a vote of the Football Association Council on October 24, the governing body has confirmed after a “healthy discussion” of the merits of the deal on Thursday.
— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) October 11, 2018
At a regular meeting of the 127-strong Council, FA bosses walked the game’s self-styled parliament through the deal and took questions from the floor.
Fulham owner Khan’s offer of £600million in cash and £300million in retained hospitality income has divided football, with some agreeing with the FA’s plan to use the windfall to transform grassroots facilities, while others have likened it to selling the crown jewels.
Although Southgate remains publicly impartial on whether he backs the sale or not, he wants any revenue to be ploughed back into the game.
“I think it is important the debate is had because I don’t think it’s essential to own the national stadium,” he said.
“But the deal has to be right and the covenants of playing there have to be right and then the plan for spending the money has to be right, if that was the decision. Outside of that it’s not my decision.”
Southgate has taken his England side to Elland Road and the King Power Stadium in recent months, to great acclaim from supporters and the players.
Speaking ahead of England’s Nations League clash against Croatia in Rijeka, Southgate explained what he put forward when he spoke to the council on the subject earlier in the week.
“I was just asked to talk about grass-roots funding and the importance I’d put on the need for good facilities,” he added.
“I’ve obviously been in the role at every level and, having coached kids’ teams and seen how many games are called off, we are short of pitches.
“That’s really important. But the decision on Wembley – if nothing happens, nothing happens, we stay as we are.
“If something happens then important the money is invested wisely with long-term planning but other people can make that decision.”