MX23RW : Monday, December 17 20:05:29

Gareth Southgate pleads for any Wembley windfall to be spent wisely

The England manager wants grassroots football to benefit if national stadium is sold off.

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.

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.

Gareth Southgate believes it is crucial that money is invested in grassroots facilities
Gareth Southgate believes it is crucial that money is invested in grassroots facilities (Simon Cooper/PA)

“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.

England  took on Switzerland  in a friendly at the King Power Stadium
England took on Switzerland in a friendly at the King Power Stadium (Nick Potts/PA)

“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.”


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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