Fulham Football Club have been sold to Pakistan-born American billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars.
The deal means that 30% of Premier League clubs are owned (or majority owned) by Americans. The other clubs being Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sunderland.
Khan’s estimated fortune is £1.7 billion. The majority of fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars are enamored by US citizen Khan who has built an entertaining product to watch in northern Florida. London is to central to Khan’s plans for the Jaguars. The NFL team has agreed to play four of their home games at Wembley for the next four years. And there have been rumors that the Jaguars could relocate to London to become the NFL’s first overseas team.
“My time of serving as the custodian of Fulham Football Club would one day come to an end, and I feel that time has now arrived,” Mohamed Al Fayed said. “The time is right because I have found a very good man in Shahid Khan to accept the responsibility and privilege that I have enjoyed at Fulham since 1997. Fulham will be in very good hands with Shahid, whose success in business and passion for sport is very evident. I ask everyone who loves Fulham and our Craven Cottage home to welcome Shahid as he begins his journey as the next guardian of Fulham Football Club.”
Khan added: “I was recently very fortunate to have been introduced to Mohamed Al Fayed, a man I respect and admire immensely for what he has accomplished in his life and – above all – what he has given others. Today, he is giving me the privilege and responsibility of serving as the next custodian of Fulham Football Club. I am extremely honoured to accept and want to thank him, on behalf of everyone who loves Fulham, for 16 years of exceptional service to the Club. Mr Al Fayed rescued the club in its hour of need and has led it to a sustained place within the Premier League.
“Fulham is the perfect club at the perfect time for me. I want to be clear, I do not view myself so much as the owner of Fulham, but a custodian of the club on behalf of its fans. My priority is to ensure the club and Craven Cottage each have a viable and sustainable Premier League future that fans of present and future generations can be proud of. We will manage the club’s financial and operational affairs with prudence and care, with youth development and community programs as fundamentally important elements of Fulham’s future.”
Al Fayed and Khan have scheduled a press conference for tomorrow afternoon in England.
Here’s the full statement from Mohamed Al Fayed:
“It has been a pleasure and privilege to be the Chairman of Fulham Football Club for 16 memorable years. I am now delighted to be passing this great and historic Club into the care and stewardship of an outstanding man who has already achieved much in his life and will, I am sure, take Fulham on to even greater things.