ALEX BRUMMER: Wembley experience is depressing, so FA proposal to make it sound attractive

Cries of protest: Wembley is treated as if it were a national treasure of the Big Ben style, while that is clearly not the case

The stalk of Wembley Stadium by Shahid Khan, Pakistani-American owner of the American Jacksonville Jaguars team, was greeted with howl of protest.

Wembley is treated as if it were a national treasure of the Big Ben style, while that is clearly not the case. For most of its existence (1923-99) Wembley was in private hands and football was a customer, such as the Rugby League Challenge Cup, Horse Of The Year show, athletics and much more.

Indeed, most national football teams with the exception of Portugal, Sweden and Ireland do not have national houses.

Cries of protest: Wembley is treated as if it were a national treasure of the Big Ben style, while that is clearly not the case

Cries of protest: Wembley is treated as if it were a national treasure of the Big Ben style, while that is clearly not the case

It goes without saying that £ 120 million of national lottery funds were spent on the Wembley reconstruction project and that citizens' money is lost if it falls into the hands of the outside world. The FA makes it clear that its first priority when the stadium is sold is to use the & # 39; public & # 39; repay funds and cancel £ 200 million of debt.

The FA represents Khan's offer, worth around £ 600 million, due to commitments made on the future of the stadium.

The main profit spinner, Club Wembley, with its 15,000 seats and business hospitality, remains under FA control for ever. Wembley remains the name of the stadium, although it can currently have a subsidiary sponsorship, such as EE. The footie matches of most English, league playoffs and cup finals are played there. The team from England should go on tour to the regions for two autumn internationals.

There is recognition that the FA can not just sell to the first buyer who comes by. Rothschild does due diligence and prepares a prospectus that is made available to qualified interested parties, including Khan.

From a general interest perspective, the FA hopes to buy off the criticism of the sale of a crown jewel with the promise that the net proceeds will go into a trust fund for the football foundation.

It will pay money to the grassroots, so that communities in Great Britain have sufficient places, changing rooms and training facilities.

As someone who finds the whole Wembley experience depressing, a stadium in the middle of an ugly industrial park, the FA proposal sounds appealing.

This will especially be the case if American know-how and investments are brought to a neighborhood that is neglected by time. But I fear that fake patriotism can kill ambition.

Go Dutch

Next Tuesday, September 11th, a 200-page document proposing to leave another large British institution from these coasts will be sent to the shareholders of Unilever Plc and Unilever NV.

The historic Dove-to-Ben-Jerry & # 39; s company, an original part of the FTSE, proposes to unite its shares and move the most important quotation from London to the financial hinterland of Rotterdam.

Unilever will claim that this is the best management in the sense that investors in the Dutch branch have 55 percent of the shares, compared to 45 percent in London.

The group wanted to negotiate a special deal with the FTSE 100 advisory committee to remain in the UK's main index, but would not give way.

This is despite the fact that British regulators and the London Stock Exchange have recently moved the heavens and earth to try and land the now-halted Saudi Aramco float for the city. Rotterdam has been made possible because the Dutch government has approved the removal of a withholding tax on dividends, creating a more level playing field. But shares that are traded in the city have to pay a stamp duty that gives the Netherlands an advantage.

The technical details of Unilever's proposal are complicated, but it requires a majority of 75 percent of investors (between the two share classes) to approve the move.

From an operational point of view, it seems bonkers. Approximately 60 percent of Unilever's business, namely home care and beauty, is run from the UK, alongside testing and R & D. This is the fastest growing part of the company and within ten years it could be 70 percent of the business . That would lead to a mismatch between operations and shared domicile.

Apart from heritage, that is a huge reason why investors have to vote to keep Unilever's quote in the FTSE 100.


How brilliant that James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, is in a hurry to save the distressed Foyles, Britain's most imaginative bookstore. Less encouraging is that the ultimate owner is Paul Singer of the relentless hedge fund Elliott, not known for admiration for a high culture. You can not imagine that he will remain a lover of literature for a long time.