Fulham have firmly stated their commitment to Craven Cottage after their former assistant director of football, Craig Kline, came out to say club owner Shahid Khan plans to develop the historic stadium into luxury riverside properties.
The Independent report that, Kline claimed that Khan’s intention to purchase Wembley in a £600m takeover involves plans to move his team away from Craven Cottage: a stadium which has stood for 122 years.
Pakistani-American billionaire Khan purchased Fulham F.C. back in July 2013 for an estimated £150-200m.
In April this year, when Khan’s Wembley bid was made public, the businessman felt the need to release a statement in which he assured Fulham fans the proposed Wembley takeover would have no effect on their club or stadium.
Refuting this, Kline has claimed that Khan’s purchase of Fulham was largely motivated by long-term intentions to move his NFL franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars, to London.
Speaking to the Independent, and contradicting Khan’s earlier statements, Kline said: “They’re going to develop the Cottage entirely into flats, that’s the plan. It’s a negative asset, it’s sitting on one of the most expensive pieces of property in London.”
He went on to explain how beneficial it would be for Khan to have an NFL team based in London, saying: “The NFL entry into the European market is one of the biggest product market entries ever, the German and European television money is massive for occupying those time slots.”
On Monday, further fanning the flames, Kline tweeted the FA Council stating he had “key evidence of systematic corruption” relating to the potential purchase of Wembley.
Fulham and Khan vehemently deny these accusations, but the FA are said to be investigating them.
Fulham and Khan have since offered a statement, saying: “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.”
Kline’s accusations and claims are all of a serious nature. However, Fulham seem to be adamant that they are all untrue.
Khan’s proposed Wembley purchase moved a step closer last month after it was approved by the FA board. The plans will be presented to the FA Council on Thursday before a vote on the 24th of October.