Sports tycoon confirmed as Trump’s UK ambassador

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A billionaire sports tycoon has been confirmed as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UK.

Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson pledged to work to strengthen the “special relationship” between the two countries.

Mr Johnson said: “As the UK undergoes a complex transaction, politically and economically, there are opportunities and challenges for the United States.

“I believe I can make a contribution by drawing both on my business and philanthropic experience.”

Mr Johnson is a long-time Republican Party fundraiser with no previous government experience.

He was born in New Jersey in 1947 and his great grandfather is Johnson & Johnson co-founder Robert Wood Johnson I.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson meets fans outside MetLife Stadium

Image:New York Jets owner Woody Johnson meets fans outside MetLife Stadium

He paid a reported $635m (£486m) for the New York Jets NFL team in 2000 and has known Mr Trump for years.

Mr Johnson, who according to Bloomberg has a net worth of $4.2bn (£3.2bn), raised money for Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and donated $1m (£765,700) to his inaugural committee.

A smiling Mr Johnson joked at his confirmation hearing that his ownership of the struggling franchise had taught him the importance of “commitment and perseverance”.

He met with then-chancellor George Osborne at 11 Downing Street during a visit to London in October 2015, along with a number of other American football figures.

Mr Johnson, who replaces Matthew Barzun in the role, is not the first NFL owner to venture into transatlantic diplomacy.

He follows in the footsteps of ex-president Barack Obama’s former US ambassador to Ireland, the late Dan Rooney, who was chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Sports tycoon confirmed as Trump’s UK ambassador

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