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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Briatore Reiterates No Big QPR Spending Plans...Talks About QPR's Future Plans


AP - Briatore taking things slowly at QPR even after clinching lucrative sponsorship deal
-Fans of English club Queens Park Rangers are likely to be disappointed if they are expecting Flavio Briatore to splash big money on players to fund a return to the Premier League.
The Renault Formula One team boss took over the struggling League Championship side in November along with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, and announced on Tuesday that the club had negotiated its biggest ever sponsorship deal.
But the 20 million pounds (US$40 million; ?26 million) that Italian sporting goods manufacturer Lotto will pay the club over five years could represent much of the on-field investment for now.
In contrast to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has spent hundred of millions of pounds on Chelsea in the past five years, Briatore says he plans a much more sustainable future for his west London club.
"We will not throw away money at all,'' Briatore said. "Don't be confused. The club is still the club. We'll try to put the club together in the right way. We're talking about QPR. It's completely wrong to compare QPR with Chelsea. We want to do it our way.
"We want to build up a club. We want to start from the bottom and create a new club. It is much more exciting.''
QPR, which has never been champion of England, has struggled since relegation from the Premier League in 1996, at one point dropping into the third tier for three seasons, and also owed tax to Britain's Inland Revenue.
It was in serious financial trouble when the F1 pair arrived, languishing at the foot of the second tier, but a change of coach and a batch of new players in January has helped lift the club into mid table.
Although the club is just seven points off the promotion playoffs, Briatore insists he is happy to take things slowly and stay in the League Championship for another season.
"When we arrived, QPR was bottom of the table, meaning just this year our goal is staying in the Championship,'' Briatore said. "It is step by step. There will be no miracles. We want to consolidate the club.
"We don't live in fantasy, we deal with reality.''
The reality is that, if QPR wants to compete with more illustrious London clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham in the Premier League like Briatore hopes it will, a move from the 19,148-seat Loftus Road stadium to a bigger arena could be necessary.
Even so, Briatore promised to stay near to QPR's current home in the Shepherd's Bush region of London.
"It's a club in the center of London, maybe the best location of any stadium in London,'' Briatore said. "It is better for the fans that we want to stay in this area. We want to be 15 minutes from London. This is the big plus of QPR.''
And fans have already seen that Briatore's plans for a stable, successful club doesn't mean some money won't be there when coach Luigi Di Canio wants it.
With the family of the richest man in Britain, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, owning a 20-percent stake in the club and represented on the board by his son-in-law Amit Bhatia, Di Canio acquired eight players in the January transfer window.
"In the January window, there was a lot of action, but what we have now is a base that we're very proud of,'' Bhatia said. "The idea is that we're very happy with what we have now. There are other things potentially, but nothing worth discussing now.''
And Briatore is already seeing the boost his presence has given the team.
"When I go around now, everyone is from QPR,'' Briatore said. "Before, I didn't know QPR existed. I was in Karampur (Pakistan) three days ago, and everybody there asks me about QPR.'' AP

Former champions Renault can still win grands prix this year despite a difficult start to the Formula One season, team boss Flavio Briatore said on Tuesday.
"I think so, yes, in Barcelona we have the new package and absolutely yes (we can win)," he told Reuters.
Briatore was speaking after announcing a new 20 million pounds ($39.85 million) five-year sponsorship deal with Italian clothing company Lotto for his English Championship (second division) soccer club Queens Park Rangers.....
...Briatore would not be drawn on whether he thought QPR would be in the Premier League before Renault were champions again.
"It's difficult to say because nobody expected Renault to win the championships in 2005 and 2006. I don't know, let's see," he said.....
The team boss is a co-owner of QPR with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Indian steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal.
"Bernie is an incredible asset for QPR and we have fun as well," Briatore said of their partnership.
"In life you need to have fun, but you have fun only if you are successful. I think there is a lot of synergy because we want to be competitive and be the best and this is the same in football as well as Formula One Reuters

Sporting Life/James Pearson - Briatore plays down spending spree
R's supremo says summer plans have not changed
QPR co-owner Flavio Briatore has stated the club's impressive new sponsorship deal will not mean a summer spending spree for Luigi Di Canio.
The West Londoners have struck a five-year sponsorship deal with Lotto Italia that could be worth up to £20million should they win promotion to the Premier League.
Briatore has confirmed QPR will strengthen come the end of the season, although he has hinted it might not be the wholesale changes the media are predicting for the Loftus Road outfit.
"I don't see the sponsorship deal changing our programme," he told Sky Sports News. "We've put a programme together to strengthen the squad, that's independent of the sponsorship.
"Luigi's done a very good job with the players. He's great.
Good job
"I remember when we took over the window was closed. In January we brought so many players together. To amalgamate everybody was not so easy and Luigi's done a good job.
"But credit to the players as well. They've responded as well. Of course we need to improve, but at least we have plenty of time to do that."
Meanwhile, Briatore has put to bed long-standing rumours the club could secure the services of Portuguese legend Luis Figo in the summer.
"Forget it. It's a lot of fantasy. He's good, but there have been a lot of rumours," he concluded. Sky Sports

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