Fulham FC chairman defends removal of Michael Jackson statue from Craven Cottage ground

Shahid Khan says removal of the statue is "the right thing" for the club

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Shahid Khan, the chairman of Fulham Football Club, has defended his decision to remove a statue of Michael Jackson from outside the club's ground.

Yesterday (September 19) it was revealed that the statue will be returned to its donor, former chairman Mohamed Al Fayed, as the club's Craven Cottage ground undergoes a development. The statue was given to the club by Al Fayed but will not be a part of the redesign.

Khan has issued a statement on the football club's official website today (September 20), outlining the reasons behind his decision: "Craven Cottage means the world to generations of Fulham supporters, and I have heard from many of them over the past two months," he says. "Our supporters' views on the statue have been made clear. I respect Mr Al Fayed and know he had good intentions in paying an individual tribute. However, the removal of the statue is the right thing for Fulham Football Club."

A statement from the club yesterday read: "The statue is not part of the Riverside development of the stadium and will be returned to the former chairman in due course."

When the statue was unveiled, former Harrods boss Al Fayed, who was a friend of Jackson, said fans of the football club could "go to hell" if they didn't appreciate it. Fans criticised the decision to erect a statue of Jackson, claiming it would make the club a laughing stock. "Why is it bizarre? Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift they can go to hell", Al Fayed said at the time. Jackson visited Craven Cottage in 1999 to see Fulham overcome Wigan Athletic 2-0.

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