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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

QPR Draw at Newcastle...Briatore Might Exit QPR (Some Interesting Snippets)

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- QPR Drew 1-1 at Newcastle tonight. - QPR took the lead through Watson after seven minutes...Substitute Harewood equalizing for Newcastle..Tonight's Newcastle-QPR Thread ----- Updated Table

The Times/Kevin Eason - October 1, 2009 - Flavio Briatore eyes QPR exit after ‘Crashgate’
- Flavio Briatore could be ready to sell his way out of football to avoid a confrontation with the authorities if he is put through another fit and proper persons test.
- The Football League’s eight-man board sits next week for what could be a defining meeting as it tries to sift through an increasing pile of evidence surrounding three famous names.
- There are question marks over the ownership of Leeds United and Notts County, while Briatore’s reputation is liable to be put through another examination as the board tries to determine whether a man thrown out of Formula One for cheating is fit and proper to run Queens Park Rangers, of the Coca-Cola Championship, as the club’s co-owner.
- Speculation is growing that Briatore will head for the exit rather than be put through the wringer again by another sporting body. Amit Bhatia, the QPR vice-chairman, is said to be letting it known to friends and business acquaintances that he would be willing to buy out Briatore if the Italian wants to go.
- Briatore has not decided what to do yet as he ponders his options after “Crashgate”, including contesting the judgment by the FIA, the governing body of motor sport, that he, as managing director of the Renault Formula One team, led the plot for Nelson Piquet Jr to crash his car so that Fernando Alonso, his team-mate, could win last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.
- Bhatia is the son-in-law of Lakshmi Mittal, the billionaire steel magnate and the eighth-richest man in the world. But Mittal is not thought to be interested in QPR, even though he bought 20 per cent of the club from Briatore. The numbers are tiny compared with Mittal’s £12 billion fortune, but Briatore will want to make his departure financially worthwhile.- Briatore is thought to have paid £540,000 for his original 54 per cent shareholding, with club debts covered by loans. Briatore’s money was paid through Sarita Capital, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven in the Caribbean and an increasingly popular repository for investors in the League.

- Munto Finance, the company that bought County, is also registered there, too far away for the Football League, with its slender resources, to be able to look into the details of its investors. But revelations in The Times about some of the people involved in the takeover at Meadow Lane have caused concern and the Football League’s board will want to examine the County case in some detail before rubber-stamping the takeover.
- As a result, the fit and proper persons test and how it is applied will come under severe scrutiny, with the League’s board bound to tighten the rules to try to prevent new cases creeping under the wire.
- The board is examining County three months after Munto Finance acquired the club, while there are increasing concerns about who owns Leeds two years after Ken Bates, the club’s chairman, controversially bought the club out of administration.
- Bates is said to have admitted in a Jersey court that he was not the owner of the club, but declared he could not reveal the identities of the investors behind the true owners of Leeds, a company called Forward Sports Fund, registered in the Cayman Islands, another Caribbean tax haven.
Next week’s meeting of the board promises to be one of the trickiest faced by Lord Mawhinney, the League chairman, with three high-profile clubs to scrutinise without damaging the credibility of the League, particularly at a time when he is searching for a new title sponsor for all three divisions. Coca-Cola, which has spent £6 million over each of the past three years, is parting company with the League, although Mawhinney believes that he can find a replacement with recession fears easing. The Times

-London Informer/Paul Warburton - Banker ready to replace Briatore as chairman
Sep 30 2009
- AMIT BHATIA has told friends he's willing to become QPR chairman if Flavio Briatore is forced to quit.
- But the club is also worried a bidding war could erupt over the 30 per cent shareholding the Italian might be forced to sell if the Football League bans him under its 'fit and proper person' code.
- Briatore was banned for life by the FIA last week in his other role as Renault team boss following the events of 'Crashgate'.
- The League is awaiting reports from the FIA and is due to thrash over the findings next Thursday - but Rangers are already clearing the decks for an upheaval at the top.
- What could turn out to be his last live match for the man who brought millions to the club two years ago is ironically the 2-1 win over cash-strapped Accrington Stanley in front of just 5,000 fans on August 25.
- Briatore is unwilling to face the wrath of supporters at games until his fate is known - and Bhatia is standing by to take over.
- The 30-year-old son-in-law of billionaire Lakshmi Mittal was brought in as vice-chairman as part of a 20 per cent investment by the family and is understood to be willing to take over Briatore's 30 per cent, should it be needed.
- An insider said: "Under company rules, the shares have to be offered publicly - and that might allow someone else to show an interest.
- "But for once in the club's recent history, it won't be left financially high and dry if Briatore decides to leave. It appears Amit Bhatia is more than willing to take over...."
." Ealing Gazette

- Goodbye to Coca Cola

- England Youth Getting Crushed

- Note: WBA vs QPR on Live TV. Game Date Changed from December 12 to December 14.

- Tonight: Newcastle vs QPR

- Who's the Real Owner of Leeds United?

- On-This-Day Flashback: Koejoe scores..Harper saves two penalties and Gerry Francis' QPR draw at Sheffield United and Stewart Houston Wins Manager of The Month (and shortly later is axed)

- Happy at QPR: Gianluca Di Marzio Will Not Be Napoli's New Sporting Director - Report -----More about Gianni Di Marzio & QPR

- Flavio Briatore, banned from Formula One over the 'crashgate' affair, now faces questions over his role as co-owner of England's Queens Park Rangers Football Club, sponsored by Bahrain's national carrier, Gulf Air.
- The Football League has requested details of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), motorsport's governing body, decision to ban the former team boss of Renault over his part in conspiring to fix the result of last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
- Spokesman Nick Jones told GulfWeekly: "The Football League is aware of the situation and is currently investigating further."
- The league requires every club owner to pass a 'fit and proper person' test and one of its rules says nobody can own a football club if they are banned from a sport's governing body.
- The Football League chairman, Lord Mawhinney, has written to the FIA to request further details of its decision, another Football League spokesman added. "Thereafter, the League will consider its position on the matter."
- Briatore is part-owner at Loftus Road with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.
- The sponsorship deal was controversially struck with Gulf Air's former CEO Bjorn Naf after a brief encounter with Briatore at the 2008 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix sparked off talks which led to the new sporting alliance between the kingdom, Gulf Air and Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
- Gulf Air has kept quiet about the current controversy in the same manner it would not reveal specific financial aspects of the sponsorship deal although details were banded about the London press
- One newspaper's headline screamed: Rangers in £7m sponsorship deal. It reported that the contract was believed to be worth £1 million a season (BD598,700) and the overall value could rise to £7 million (BD4.2 million) depending on the club gaining promotion and staying in the Premier League.
- The club has visited the kingdom once to stage coaching sessions with local children. A proposed match against the national side was cancelled.
- It wasn't long before members of Bahrain's Parliament, critical of the way Mr Naf was running the loss-making national carrier, questioned the sponsorship deal suggesting that most people in Bahrain had never heard of the Championship side.
- And, Mr Naf's fate took the same turn as many who attempted to manager QPR under Briatore. Jim Magilton is currently the seventh manager since he took over and Royal Jordanian Airline's former boss Samer Majali is now in the Gulf Air hot seat.
- The flamboyant Italian is also chairman of the holding company that owns the club and a director on the board. He missed his side's 5-2 victory against Barnsley on Saturday which took QPR up to eighth place in the second tier of English football.
- Briatore quit Renault ahead of last Monday's FIA hearing into Renault's ordering of Nelson Piquet junior to crash in Singapore to orchestrate a win for his teammate Fernando Alonso.
- The FIA also handed a ban - suspended until the end of the 2011 season - to Renault.
- Briatore has denied all the accusations against him over the affair, saying they were 'outrageous lies'.
- A senior source at QPR said: "We haven't released any sort of statement and won't be at this stage. We are making no comment at all and have nothing to say."- Briatore was indefinitely banned from Formula One which was desperate to put the damaging Renault race-fixing scandal behind it at the weekend, but it was not easy with the sport returning to the scene of the incident in Singapore.
- By a quirk of fate, the 14th race of the season took place in the city-state just days after Renault was slapped with a suspended two-year ban by the International Automobile Federation.
- It was here at Formula One's inaugural night race last year that team principal Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds allegedly ordered Nelson Piquet junior to deliberately crash to help Alonso win.
- Both Briatore and Symonds have been thrown out of the sport and Piquet's reputation is in ruins, but Alonso was cleared of any wrongdoing. Last year, Alonso began in 15th position, but after the Spaniard made an early pit stop to refuel, Piquet crashed into a wall, prompting the deployment of the safety car.
- As Alonso's rivals then gradually disappeared into the pits to refuel, he catapulted himself into the lead and went on to win his first race in a year. Gulf Weekly

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