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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Updated Timeline re QPR's Simon Blitz Loan, Reported Repayment, Transfer Embargo? - Official Responses - Claims, Statements, Responses

The allegation in today's Daily Mail and this past Sunday's News of the World and Sunday Mirror is that there is a transfer embargo.

UPDATED TIMELINE Timeline: The QPR "Loan Deal Thread - Claims and Responses

July 31: Daily Mail - QPR's new stars may sit it out
New signings Simon Walton and Lee Camp may be banned from starting the season with QPR.
The Football League are refusing to allow Rangers to register new players until they repay a £500,000 loan from Oldham chairman Simon Blitz - there is understood to be £300,000 left.
Rangers announced the signings of Walton from Charlton for £200,000 and Camp from Derby for £300,000 last week.
But the transfers are yet to be ratified by the League who will block any move to play them in the Championship. Daily Mail

July 30 - On BBC Radio London, QPR Chairman Gianni Paladini reportedly said (according to QPR Rivals' Clive Whittingham's report of the programme: "...The embargo was put on us before we started to pay money back to Blitz - now we're paying it back the embargo has been lifted..." (From Rivals' Clive Whittingham's report)

July 28 The Sunday Mirror and the News of the World both reported on a transfer embargo.
Sunday Mirror: "Rangers have been hit by Football League sanctions.... League bosses have withheld central funds from the club and placed a transfer embargo on Rangers, who have announced several recent deals.
Rangers must re-pay the entire £500,000 loan they received from Oldham Athletic which breached League regulations. Paladini insists the outstanding £300,000 from this loan will be repaid this week. Sunday Mirror

July OLDHAM CHRONICLE - League probes Rangers loan

FOOTBALL League officials are set to probe Simon Blitz’s £500,000 loan to Queens Park Rangers.
The Boundary Park chairman lent the money from his own account, insisting it was a personal transaction with no connection to Athletic, but the league will discuss a possible conflict of interests.
It seems unlikely that either Athletic or QPR will receive a heavy punishment, even though football investors are not supposed to get involved with more than one club.
Mr Blitz declined to make any comment today, but the expected outcome from the league’s monthly meeting was a slap on the wrist.
The New York-based tycoon offered his loan towards the end of last season as Championship side QPR were going through serious cash-flow problems.
They had to debts to pay, and Mr Blitz helped them out as he had some “extra funds” in his account.
He stressed it was a business deal which did not go through Athletic’s books and on which QPR were charged interest, leaving him with a personal profit.
Everything was registered through the correct channels, with the loan secured against QPR’s star player, Lee Cook.

League officials have opted to discuss the matter, but all parties have taken steps to resolve the issue quickly and avoid any damaging penalties.

Contrary to reports last week, a cheque sent to Mr Blitz by QPR did not bounce – part of the £500,000 has been repaid, with the rest to come within days.

Rangers fans were alarmed about losing 24-year-old winger Cook if the Loftus Road board, who accepted the loan over two months ago, were unable to come up with the necessary payments.
Ironically, Cook is now poised to leave QPR in an expensive transfer to Fulham.
Athletic were not asked to send a representative to the Football League’s meeting, while a spokesman for QPR said: “The arrangements the club has already put in place remain acceptable. No charges have been brought.”

THE Football League will today also decide whether Leeds will be allowed to start life in Coca–Cola League One next month.

Months of uncertainty over the Elland Road club's future were seemingly ended yesterday when administrators KPMG announced Ken Bates' consortium had bought back the club for an undisclosed sum.
But KPMG's decision to sell the club outside of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) could have grave consequences for Leeds' future in League One. Oldham Chronicle

July 12 - Daily Mail - QPR face League probe over loan
QPR could be in trouble with the authorities after today's meeting of the Football League board.
The club face the possibility of sanction over a £500,000 loan from Oldham chairman Simon Blitz.
The deal may be considered a breach of Football League regulation 80 which forbids individuals linked with one club lending money to another without permission.
Cook's potential transfer is at the centre of the investigation
Details of the loan, which Blitz claims was secured against the future sale of Rangers winger Lee Cook, emerged in April and prompted a League investigation.
Rangers promised to pay back the cash but the League have yet to see evidence the repayment has taken place.
The matter is on the agenda at today's meeting of the league's executive board who may refer it to an independent Football Disciplinary Commission. If found guilty, both clubs could be fined or deducted points.
Blitz said the loan was a private business deal and had no connection to his Oldham role.
Rangers director Nick De Marco said: “The club have been assured by authorities that the arrangements we have put in place to resolve this remain acceptable.”
Daily Mail

JULY 8 Sunday Mirror/Paul Smith "QPR FACE DROP OVER LOAN DEAL"

QUEENS Park Rangers face being relegated from the Championship or handicapped with a severe points deduction when the Football League board meet on Thursday.
The League is furious that QPR seriously breached their rules by entering into an illegal loan agreement with League One Oldham.
They borrowed £500,000 against the future sale of 24-year-old winger Lee Cook. The Football League has ordered QPR to repay the money.
But QPR's financial crisis has deepened leaving them in a perilous position after the original cheque they issued to - repay Oldham bounced.
However, QPR chairman Gianni Paladini insisted last night: "We paid the cheque to Oldham on Friday. I can tell you now that everything is satisfactory."
A Football League source said: "We have unlimited powers to take an acceptable course of action in the case of QPR." Sunday Mirror

July 9, RESPONSE On LSA FAN BOARD BY QPR DIRECTOR/LEGAL COUNCIL, Nick De Marco, Responding in his personal capacity

Query and Response


"...I will do my best to answer, in a personal capacity and to my best ability, the questions you have raised....
Taking your questions in the order you raised them:
I know that in a previous email on this you said there would be no further ramifications to QPRFC, do you and the rest of the board still feel this to be the case?
Yes. Indeed it is my understanding the story in the press is not reliable. I understand the Club has been assured today by the relevant authorities that the arrangements the Club has already put in place to resolve this issue remain acceptable. No charges have been brought against QPR. QPR have not been invited to attend any meeting or make representations to any meeting dealing with this matter in the next week, or beyond that. No disciplinary charge has been laid against QPR. No suggestion has been made by the relevant authorities of any sanction involving the deduction of points being considered.
The journalist’s story was incorrect on a number of other counts, the most significant of which I understand are as follows:
(i) The alleged loan reported was not made by Oldham FC and
(ii) No cheque bounced.
I do not know who is purported to have told the journalist that “"We have unlimited powers to take an acceptable course of action in the case of QPR." However the statement is pretty non committal. If you consider it in full it amounts to saying, “we can do whatever is appropriate”. That if course is true. If a journalist telephoned an officer of the FL and asked for a comment, I would not be surprised if such a non-committed comment was made. I don’t think too much needs to be read into it seeing as the Club has, I understand, been assured that the resolution it has put in place is acceptable.

It would seem to the average lay man that with several law people on the board, something of this nature should never have occurred, without wishing to sound rude, what checks were carried out as to the legality of this loan?
I was not involved in the negotiation of this matter nor was I involved in any initial review of it. I understand that the initial discussions concerned a proposal by Mr Blitz to assist in re-financing the ABC loan, and the money advanced was done so as a deposit or down payment in respect of those discussions. I understand those involved at QPR relied on the assurances of the lawyers representing Mr Blitz that the arrangement had been cleared with the football authorities and was not in breach of the rules. It remains a matter of debate as to whether any material rule was breached, but given the concerns raised, and our own review of the rules, it was agreed that it would be better to pay the money back and not pursue further the discussions about the re-financing of the loan rather than risk any breach.

With speculation that there is a chance QPRFC could face relegation or start the new season with points deducted, why has there been no official word on this from the Club, I would have thought it of uppermost important to put the supporters minds at rest on this? Can we expect an official statement?

The only speculation about a points deduction and relegation that has been made is in one small article of one newspaper. The article has a number of flaws and we do not believe there is any basis for that speculation. If the Club responded to every piece of speculation about it reported in the press it would probably only further fuel such speculation, would do little to quell it amongst those who wish to speculate, and would take up a disproportionate amount of time. I have, however, attempted to provide you with answers to the questions you have sent me on behalf of the LSA, and I hope that is a proportionate response to the issues raised.
Kind regards Nick De Marco

JULY 10 Kilburn Times/Ben Kosky - League may probe Blitz loan
QPR are confident they will face no action when the Football League meets tomorrow to discuss their controversial loan from Simon Blitz.
Rangers are in the process of repaying the £500,000 they received from Blitz, the Oldham Athletic chairman, as part of his proposed investment in the club earlier this summer.
A national newspaper report claimed last weekend that the Rs could be deducted points or even relegated if the League's board decides that a breach of their rules took place.
QPR have strongly denied that, as the newspaper claimed, their cheque to Blitz 'bounced' - and have also stressed that their dealings have always been with Blitz as an individual, never with Oldham.
A Loftus Road insider told the Times: "We were surprised by the story. We haven't been asked to attend the Football League meeting or told there is anything we need to reply to.
"The loan will be repaid in full. The club has contacted both the FA and Football League and they have confirmed they are not taking any action."
Football League spokesman Jon Nagle stated: "To our knowledge, at this point in time, the monies have not been paid. The matter will be discussed by the League board at their monthly meeting on Thursday."
Rangers accepted Blitz's money as part of their attempts to refinance the crippling ABC loan, but agreed to return it after learning that the FA had not authorised the arrangement...
. Kilburn Times


QPR Statement re Blitz Loan, ABC Refinancing and Returning Loan
The Board have today (Sunday) issued the following statement with regards to on-going speculation in the national press.
Queens Park Rangers FC have been involved in discussions with Simon Blitz about possibilities of re-financing the ABC loan at a better interest rate for QPR.
As part of those negotiations, and by way of a down-payment to demonstrate his interest in assisting with this in the future, Mr Blitz agreed to loan QPR £500,000.
It was agreed that the loan was not in violation of the Football Association or Football League rules.
Mr Blitz, as the lending party, assured QPR that he was satisfied, having received his own legal advice, that the loan did not violate any football rules.
The loan, and the security for the loan was not hidden and was made public by the registration of the security at Companies House.
Contrary to press reports, the loan was not made to help QPR with its payroll, but was made in the context of the ABC re-financing discussions.
Having taken further advice, and having discovered that Simon Blitz did not have the prior written authorisation of the F.A. to make this loan, QPR has agreed to pay the loan back forthwith.
QPR would like to assure its supporters that it has no intention of selling Lee Cook, and the fact that the proceeds of any future sale was offered as a security does not suggest this.
Mr Blitz had no say in any potential sale of Lee Cook, and now it is agreed to repay the loan he will not have a security over him.
QPR will continue to work hard to try and re-finance the ABC loan in the near future.
The contents of this statement have been shown to Simon Blitz and agreed by him. It will also been sent to the Football Association.QPR

"Oldham Chairman Simon Blitz Explains £500,000 Loan to QPR"

Friday's Standard QPR probe spells chaos for League
RAOUL SIMONS Sports News Editor

THE climax of the Championship season was thrown into chaos today by the Football League’s decision to probe Queens Park Rangers.
The club are under investigation after taking out a £500,000 loan from Oldham Athletic chairman Simon Blitz.
If found guilty of breaking League rules, Rangers could be deducted points — opening up the sensational possibility of rivals Leeds United escaping relegation.
Nineteenth-placed Rangers are six points ahead of Leeds — who are third bottom — but results on Sunday when QPR face Stoke and Leeds meet Derby could see that gap close to three.
The outcome of the League investigation is not expected soon, which means the arguments over the final make-up of the table could extend long into the close-season.
In a further twist, Leeds are understood to be close to going into administration which, if announced before the end of the season, could render the QPR issue academic.
The Yorkshire club would automatically be deducted 10 points as punishment for financial mismanagement.
The League have announced they are investigating the bizarre arrangement between Rangers and Blitz, which involves the loan being secured against the future sale of star winger Lee Cook.
Asked if the probe could theoretically lead to a points deduction, a League spokesman today refused to comment.
Blitz is understood to be a friend of Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini and was asked to provide funds to help the club cover wages while they overcame cashf low problems.
Paladini said: “I arranged something in the best interests of the club. I am not telling lies when I say we have no intention of selling Lee Cook — that is unless we get an offer we just cannot refuse.”
Blitz said: “I was talking to the QPR chairman and he asked me for a short-term loan because they had problems covering the payroll. Usually the collateral is something like a house but QPR couldn’t use their land to guarantee the loan so I agreed they could use a player.”

May 3, 2007 BBC -League to probe Oldham-QPR link

The Football League has launched an investigation into a £500,000 personal loan made by Oldham chairman Simon Blitz to Championship side QPR.

A League spokesman said: "An issue, relating to Oldham and Queens Park Rangers, was brought to our attention."

The loan, which was registered with Companies House on 18 April, has been confirmed by Blitz.

However, neither QPR chairman Gianni Paladini nor the Football Association would comment on the matter.

Blitz told the Oldham Chronicle: "This is a business deal on a personal level which has no bearing whatsoever on Latics."

QPR's supporters' trust co-ordinator Tracy Stent added: "We are interested in finding out more about this, and we will be trying to do so (after Sunday's game against Stoke)." BBC

May 3, 2007 Sporting Life -LEAGUE PROBE LOAN TO QPR
By Tom Collomosse, PA Sport

The Football League has launched an investigation into a £500,000 personal loan made by Oldham chairman Simon Blitz to Coca-Cola Championship outfit QPR.

The loan, registered with Companies House on April 18, is believed to be secured against the potential sale of Rangers' star player Lee Cook and has been confirmed by Blitz, although Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini did not want to comment when approached.

A Football League spokesman said: "An issue, relating to Oldham Athletic and Queen's Park Rangers, was brought to our attention. This is now being investigated."

The League did not reveal possible punishments for Rangers or Oldham should they be deemed to be guilty of wrongdoing, while the Football Association would not comment on the matter.

Members of the Rangers Supporters' Trust are to meet Paladini on Sunday, when Rangers play their final Championship match of the season against Stoke, to discuss the matter.
Blitz said the loan would have no negative impact on Oldham's finances, and told the Oldham Chronicle this week: "This is a business deal on a personal level which has no bearing whatsoever on Latics."
Rangers' Supporters Trust Co-ordinator Tracy Stent added: "We are interested in finding out more about this, and we will be trying to do so [after Sunday's game against Stoke]." Sporting Life

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oldham Chairman Simon Blitz Explains £500,000 Loan to QPR


The QPR Supporters Trust is to meet chairman Gianni Paladini to discuss a £500,000 personal loan to Rangers from Oldham supremo Simon Blitz.

The loan, believed to be secured against the potential sale of Rangers winger Lee Cook, has been confirmed by Latics chairman Blitz although Paladini did not want to comment when approached.

The loan was registered with Companies House on April 18 and Blitz insists it will have no negative impact on Oldham's finances.

"We are interested in finding out more about this, and we will be trying to do so [after Sunday's game against Stoke]," said Tracy Stent, the Rangers Supporters' Trust Co-ordinator.

Blitz told the Oldham Chronicle: "It is something I do. People borrow money from me and they pay it back with interest. Business is business.

"People can say whatever they like but this is a business deal on a personal level which has no bearing whatsoever on Latics." Sporting Life

QPR 1st Statement - New loan for QPR Holdings Ltd
May 2, 2007

Following the file updated at Companies House on Monday concerning a £500,000 loan to QPR Holdings Ltd, QPR 1st Chair, Tracy Stent, yesterday morning spoke to club director, Kevin Steele.
Kevin informed her that that whilst confidentiality clauses had been signed between the various parties involved with this loan, it is a short term one; it's basically a floating charge; that he is confident it will mean good news for the longer term of the club; and that there are other discussions ongoing in relation to the ABC loan. He also informed that because of the nature and sensitivity involved in such discussions, the Board and/or those involved are unable to update regarding this at the current moment in time, but would do so when there is any news to report on.
QPR 1st will update with any further news on this as and when we receive it. QPR1st

Oldham Evening Chronicle Blitz defends loan to QPR

ATHLETIC chairman Simon Blitz has made a personal loan of £500,000 to Queens Park Rangers.

Mr Blitz was approached by QPR chief Gianni Paladini as the London club were going through cash-flow difficulties, and he agreed to lend them the money to help cover wages.
The New York-based tycoon, whose main interest is a telecommunications company, said it was entirely a personal business transaction which had “no bearing whatsoever” on Athletic.
Questions have been raised by Athletic supporters, but the funds, secured against the transfer of QPR player Lee Cook, did not go through Boundary Park accounts.
Mr Blitz said: “I was talking to the QPR chairman and he asked me for a short-term loan because they had problems covering the payroll.
“I told him ‘Actually, I can help you out’ because I had some extra funds in my personal account.
“I do this sort of thing – agreeing to a loan, getting the money back quite quickly and making profit from the interest.
“It’s something I do. People borrow money from me and they pay it back with interest. Business is business.
“Usually the collateral is something like a house, but QPR couldn’t use their land to guarantee the loan so I agreed they could use a player.
“There’s no conflict with my position at Oldham Athletic because I haven’t invested in another club, just lent them some personal funds for a few weeks.
“People can say whatever they like, but this is a business deal on a personal level which has no bearing whatsoever on Latics.
“I haven’t contravened any rules and I registered it all with Companies House – it’s a way of making money and, in the long term, that can only benefit the club.”
Mr Blitz has several business interests in America and Britain and co-owns Athletic with Simon Corney and Danny Gazal.
He expects to be paid back when QPR, who have had long-term financial problems, receive money from the sale of season tickets. Oldham Evening Chronicle

Julia/Boardroom Blues reporting "[Lee] Cook Used As Loan Security"- That QPR Holdings Ltd has borrowed £500,000 from Oldham Chairman/Co-owner Simon Blitz secured against the future sale of Lee Cook. Report

May 1, 2007 - Boardroom Blues Site "[Lee] Cook Used As Loan Security"

May 2, 2007 - Oldham Chairman Simon Blitz Explains £500,000 Loan to QPR

May 6, 2007 - QPR Statement re Blitz Loan, ABC Refinancing and Returning Loan

May 8, 2007 QPR & Simon Blitz & Future Investment

May 8, 2007 - QPR's Return of Money to Oldham's Simon Blitz Noted

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