A levy on football gambling could be introduced to fund the grassroots game following the collapse of the proposed sale of Wembley Stadium, Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn has said.
Glenn failed to get the backing of the 127-member FA Council for the sale of the national stadium and the deal fell through when Fulham owner Shahid Khan withdrew his £600m offer.
Now Glenn thinks the FA should receive a levy from bookmakers on gambling on the game, something which would require government legislation.
“All those betting companies use our intellectual property to have people lay bets, so why wouldn’t a small percentage of that be put into the thing that made that possible in the first place?”
Martin Glenn, FA chief executive
Glenn told the Daily Telegraph: “France has effectively a tax on gambling. We would call it a fair return on football gambling.
“All those betting companies use our intellectual property to have people lay bets, so why wouldn’t a small percentage of that be put into the thing that made that possible in the first place?
“We, as football, could approach the government and say ‘Have you thought about something like that?’
“It doesn’t need to be a big lump sum. We’ve got £64m going into the Football Foundation between the three of us (FA, Premier League and government) – imagine if it was £80m or £100m. If we could get to that it would be brilliant.”
The sale might not be completely dead in the water though, as Khan, who will watch his NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Wembley on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, has hinted he may be willing to revisit the deal if the “divisive” issues can be overcome.
In the interim Glenn does not intend to borrow money against the stadium’s assets to help fund the estimated £15m annual cost of keeping the stadium up to date and competitive against other venues.
October 28, 2018, 1:00pm
He said: “One thing I would rule out is that we would take debt. Part of our business plan is to pay off our debt (on Wembley) by 2024. People have said ‘why don’t you borrow money from the TV rights?’, but it doesn’t feel right. There could be chilly winds ahead.”
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