A former employee of Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s English soccer team claims that Khan’s impending purchase of Wembley Stadium is part of a plan to move the Jaguars to London.
Craig Kline, who served as assistant director of Khan’s Fulham Football Club, has made a number of allegations against Khan as Khan attempts to complete the Wembley deal. One of those allegations is that Khan, who publicly says he’s committed to keeping the Jaguars in Jacksonville, is privately planning to turn Wembley into his NFL team’s regular home field.
Kline claimed Khan told him to stay quiet about his plans to buy Wembley and move the Jaguars to London in 2022, the Telegraph reports. The Independent reports that Kline has said of Khan that “moving the Jags from Florida to the UK remains his priority.”
Jim Woodcock, spokesman for Khan, said, “This is nothing more than the same ongoing nonsense and bogus claims made by a former employee who left the club in 2017. Nothing here merits a further response.”
Although it hasn’t been discussed much in the American media, the British media have had several stories suggesting that Khan wants to make Wembley the Jaguars’ permanent home.
If Khan wants to move the Jaguars to London, he’ll need the support of at least 24 of the 32 owners, and it’s unclear whether he’ll have that. It’s also unclear how the NFL would handle some of the logistical challenges of basing a team in London for eight games a year.
Right now, a permanent NFL team in London seems unrealistic. But it’s possible the atmosphere could change in the coming years. Perhaps by 2022, the league and London will be ready to do business on a full-time basis. For now the first of three 2018 games at Wembley Stadium is set for this Sunday when the Raiders play the Seahawks. A week later the Chargers play the Titans, and the week after that is the annual Jaguars’ home game at Wembley, with the Eagles as their opponents.