Former England player Gary Neville has denounced England Football's plans to sell Wembley Stadium saying it's "a short-term plan we'll regret for ever".

A Wembley sale plan was examined by a MPs select committee this week. In case of a positive decision, a sale process will be launched to seek out any additional bids.

Last April, the Daily Mail unveiled Pakistani-American billionaire Shahid Khan offered NZ$ 1.15 billion (£600 million) to own the England national stadium.

Neville was interviewed by the digital, culture, media and sport select committee.


"They are talking about an extra £70 million a year for 20 years. That's a pittance in football, it's a pittance in government. It's the price of a full back" said a dismayed Neville.

"Don't sell Wembley. Whatever you do, don't sell Wembley" pleaded Neville with the PMs.

For FA chief executive Martin Glenn this offer is a not-to-be-missed opportunity that could benefit grassroots football.

"It wasn't on the agenda and everyone's emotional reaction was the same, a little bit of surprise. Most people think that if you could spend the money properly and you could get the protections and it still be the national stadium, it seems like a win-win" explained Glenn.

Neville proposed other sources of funding to help grassroots football, including a levy on agent fees and a cut of Premier League prize money.

However the former Manchester United player appeared alone in his opinion before the committee.

Both the government and Sport England have given their support to the sale plan, requiring some conditions like keeping the naming rights.

The FA reports having invested £615 million in grassroots football since 2000, which is the equivalent of what could yield a Wembley stadium sale. Last season in England 150,000 matches were called off due to poor facilities, a figure the FA wants to lower significantly.


A Wembley sale could affect the clubs of Tottenham and Chelsea. Bidder Khan is Fulham and NFL Jacksonville Jaguars' owner and intends to move his franchise to London.

NFL setup at Wembley stadium in 2010
NFL setup at Wembley stadium in 2010

Such a deal would probably prevent Tottenham's American owners hosting NFL fixtures in their future stadium, designed for both soccer and American football and partly financed by NFL (1 per cent).

Chelsea would also take a dim view of a sale of this stadium. The Blues considered a short-term move to Wembley stadium while building a new stadium. The purchase of Wembley by Khan would rule out this possibility.