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Saturday, October 10, 2009

QPR Football Snippets Saturday...Further Focus on Briatore and the Football League

- TWO QPR Reports! This QPR Report site. And, the second combination messageboard and quasi-blog QPR Report Messageboard. If you're interested in constantly-updated news re anything QPR-related and also QPR nostalgia, this site has both - along with assorted eclectic non-QPR football material.


- Video of Newcastle vs QPR: The Goals

- Video: QPR vs Liverpool (1995-96)

- Video: QPR vs Luton (2006)

- Helguson Injury Update

- FA Chairman Wants Betting Ban for Footballers and Managers

- Summer Trialist David Connolly was on the Southampton Bench last night.

- Alan Irvine celebrates his 100th game in charge vs QPR (Name the past three managers who've been in charge at QPR for 100 games!)

- Flashback: One Year Since Tommasi Finally arrived at QPR

- Flashback II: A Decade Since George Ndah's QPR Signing Fell Through

- Flashback II: Marking 42 Years Since Alan Wilks Set the QPR Scoring record of five goals in a game(which he still holds)

- Football Against Racism Week: October 15-27

FACTS &STATS: QPR Attendance Stats Over the Years

- Being Held on Monday: Antonio Caliendo's Golden Foot Awards

- Chester in Financial Trouble

- 2009-2010 Managerial Departures

Guardian - Bernie Ecclestone tells Flavio Briatore to sit tight at Queens Park Rangers• Formula One ban could affect role at QPR
• Italian should 'tell his side of the story'

- The Formula One rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, has told Flavio Briatore not to let the Renault race-fixing affair have any bearing on his interests in football.
- Briatore, the former Renault team principal, has been asked by the Football League to defend himself over concerns that his lifetime Formula One ban will make him fall foul of the League's "fit and proper persons test", which is applied to club ownership.
- The League's rules do not allow directors to serve at clubs if they have been banned from another sport.
- Ecclestone, who is a QPR director, said: "Nobody is worrying about it at QPR. He [Briatore] says that he was not involved in what happened in Crashgate and has maintained that. But anyway, what has that got to do with football? He suffered a harsh punishment in Formula One but it is not as though he could do the same thing in football.
- "He should simply tell the Football League his side of the story. Make his own case. The Football League should forget about Flavio Briatore and worry more about the people in football who really do need investigating."
- Briatore was given a lifetime ban from any involvement with Formula One by the FIA, the sport's governing body, after the Crashgate scandal at last year's Singapore grand prix. Briatore was accused of ordering Nelson Piquet Jr to crash into a wall, to help the Brazilian driver's Spanish team-mate, Fernando Alonso, to win the race by deployment of the safety car. Guardian

The Times/Kevin Eason - October 10, 2009 - Flavio Briatore urged to stand firm at QPR
- Flavio Briatore was encouraged to fight for his football life last night, threatening to tip the Football League into a damaging and costly confrontation with the flamboyant chairman of Queens Park Rangers.
- Briatore has been called to defend himself in front of the Football League board, which could throw him out of the game after claims that he has fallen foul of the League’s “fit and proper persons” test.
- But Bernie Ecclestone, Briatore’s longstanding friend and powerful ally in Formula One, as well as a QPR director, has told Briatore not to back down under increasing pressure for him to quit before he is charged by the League. Ecclestone believes the life ban imposed on Briatore in Formula One after the “Crashgate” affair has no bearing on his football activities.
- “Nobody is worrying about it at QPR,” Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights-holder, said. “He says that he was not involved in what happened in Crashgate and has maintained that. But anyway, what has that got to do with football? He suffered a harsh punishment in Formula One but it is not as though he could even do the same things in football.
- He should simply tell the Football League his side of the story. Make his own case. The Football League should forget about Flavio Briatore and worry more about the people in football who really do need investigating.”
- Ecclestone believes that Briatore was treated harshly in Formula One for his part in Crashgate, in which the FIA, the sport’s world governing body, accused him, as managing director at Renault, of ordering Nelson Piquet Jr to smash his car into a wall to disrupt last year’s Singapore Grand Prix so that Fernando Alonso, his team-mate, could win the race.
- The FIA’s judgment was d***ing, refusing to allow Briatore to be connected in any way with Formula One or motor racing for the rest of his life. That immediately catapulted Briatore into football’s spotlight, with Football League rules not allowing directors to serve if they have been banned by the governing body of another sport.
- The eight-man Football League board — which includes Adam Pearson, the Derby County chairman, and David Sheepshanks, the former chairman of Ipswich Town — took legal advice before considering the Briatore case, which is a potential minefield and could result in a drawn-out legal argument that would cost tens of thousands of pounds in lawyers’ fees.
- In legal circles the view is that Briatore is likely to fall short of the fit and proper persons test but the question now for the Football League is how, if established, it could apply it. There are no guarantees that Briatore will even attempt to answer the case after he refused to attend the FIA’s court.
- Speculation is growing that Amit Bhatia, the QPR deputy chairman, will make an offer for Briatore’s shareholding but Ecclestone denied that Briatore wants to sell.
- Briatore is known to be furious with what he saw as an FIA campaign against him and will not take to being pushed around by football’s authorities, which explains the League’s cautious approach in asking Briatore for his side of the case. It simply has to wait and wonder now what Briatore’s response will be.
- But Ecclestone’s ire is also directed at the Football League, particularly because it looks set to rubber-stamp the controversial takeover of Notts County by the mysterious Munto Finance. Ecclestone knows Russell King, the middleman in the deal, who has been the target of allegations of financial irregularities and criminal investigation.
- That is why Ecclestone wonders why Briatore has been targeted. In spite of his flashy image, Briatore posted QPR’s annual accounts on the club website. Under his chairmanship, losses increased from £4.8 million to £6 million last year, but large swaths of Loftus Road were upgraded and a dozen new players were recruited, sending the wage bill soaring. The Times

The Independent/James Lawton: - 8 October 2009: The sad day sport belonged on the financial pages
- One night back in the 20th century the famous American boxing referee Mills Lane formed such a dismal view of the future of sport he reached for a microphone and made an impassioned speech.
- He asked if anyone had scanned the sports pages that morning and read much about anything except money. "I very much doubt it," said the former US marine and practising Nevada circuit judge, "and because of this we should not be too surprised by what happened here tonight."
- What happened was that Mike Tyson had part-cannibalised Evander Holyfield's ear, spat some of it on the canvas, and might well have completed the job but for the intervention of Lane and a detachment of Las Vegas's finest.
- You may say that Tyson's act was so atavistic it smacked rather more of the street than the stock exchange but then it was also true that his dawning belief that Holyfield was the better man was also accompanied by the understanding that years of vast income were about to draw to a close.
- At the end of what sounded pretty much a funeral oration for the whole concept of sport as something intrinsically separate from the making of huge amounts of money, Lane made a bleak prophecy. "One of these days," he said, "they're going to move sport on to the financial pages – or vice versa."
- This week it happened. Thursday, 8 October 2009. Almost everywhere you looked, it was all about money, who had it (stunningly, the football rich list told us that Roy Keane, currently bottom of the Championship with Ipswich had £12m more of it than Arsène Wenger) and who didn't, which sadly for Portsmouth most conspicuously appeared to be the man who was handed the club in exchange for nothing more convertible than some good intentions.
- Queen's Park Rangers investor and steel-maker Lakshmi Mittal is potentially the biggest soccer sugar daddy of them all with a stash of £18.4bn, nearly £11bn more than Roman Abramovich, but would you have extended your stake in anything run by Flavio Briatore by more than a plugged hospital parking token?
- The QPR situation did, though, provide a little passing relief from pure financial calculation on a day when Lord Mawhinney, the Football League chairman, told us that the question of whether the disgraced Briatore was a fit and proper person to run a member club having been banned, effectively, for life by motor racing, "was complex and complicated".

- There's nothing complicated about money, though, is there? Just, that is, as long as you talk to a Manchester City supporter rather than one backing United. City's Sheikh Mansour, we were told on the day that United's former long-time chairman Martin Edwards expressed his fears about the £700m debt load imposed on the club by American owner Malcolm Glazer, has given manager Mark Hughes the all-clear for another massive splurge in the January transfer window, which may well carry spending on the current season above the £200m mark – a mere desert flea bite on the Sheikh's fortune, which makes him second to Mittal at £17bn.
- All in all, not a day especially crying out for a major contribution from Mr Jack Warner, the Fifa councillor from Trinidad & Tobago who so blithely survived his family's profiteering from ticket sales for the 2006 World Cup. Yet there he was, lordly and profound, lecturing England's 2018 World Cup host contenders on how best they might exploit the aura of the Premier League and David Beckham.
- Warner is also deeply exercised by cheating on the field, and talked glowingly of sin-bins for divers in next summer's World Cup finals. What happens to the duckers was something he was not inclined, surprisingly enough, to illuminate.
- Goldenballs, inevitably, topped the players' rich list with a haul of £125m, £101m more than his former team-mate Ryan Giggs. Michael Owen, despite his uneasy hold on the front rank of football celebrity these days and heavy investment in racing stables, remains an extremely viable runner in football's great money stakes, the effect of his drop in wages at Old Trafford nicely cushioned by ambassadorships with watchmaker Tissot and Jaguar plus, and, we are told, a £2m deal with Umbro.
- We can trawl for quite some time through such wonders of well-heeled existence but sooner or later of course we collide with the reality that for every Owen, who still seems to care passionately about his place in the game which has brought him his fortune, there must be so many others whose ambitions are dulled if not destroyed by the knowledge that with a modicum of good management they will never again have to blanch at the idea of another day's work.
- For Owen we can also read such as Wenger, for whom the average night is spent ingesting football videos, and Sir Alex Ferguson (rated third among managers at a personal fortune of £22m) – men for whom, you have to guess, all the money in the world would never compensate for the dying of the football battles which have consumed their lives.
- Those less committed may have confirmed at least some of the fears of someone like World Cup hero George Cohen, who never earned so much from football that he could ever put aside the need to make, and in his case, lose fortunes prised from the world beyond the touchline. He remembers his desperate need to succeed when he signed on at Fulham for a few pounds a week and he says, not in envy but a little bewilderment, "Today when I hear of some brilliant young player being besieged by the scouts and the agents and his family hearing all the sweet talk I have to wonder what is happening in the kid's head, when he knows that his life, at least in material terms, is guaranteed."

No doubt he draws some encouragement from the evidence that a Wayne Rooney, whose deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Mercedes and EA Sports bring in an estimated £6m a year and help carry him to third place in the players' list and a fortune reckoned to be £37m, has yet to disturb the impression that football remains at the centre of his life.
- There will, of course, always be such characters for whom money will always have a certain irrelevance to the deepest thrust of their natures. However, it would be idle to believe that they, like all of sport, are not besieged on some days more than others. One day this week, certainly, fulfilled most of the fears of the old marine who stood up to yell his protest. The Independent

The Times Leading Article: Own Goal for Football October 10, 2009
- Can just anyone buy a football club? If not, who is deciding who can?
- Has anyone got a clue who really owns Notts County or Leeds United? Or who exactly are the latest saviours of the Premier League club Portsmouth? Football is certainly a magical game. But the mystery and the seat-of-the-pants wonder of the sport is supposed to be played out on the pitch, not in the boardroom. The Government wants you to register for police checks before you even think about giving your neighbour’s son a lift to football practice, but it seems that any Tom, Dick or offshore company can own a football club.
- Football’s finances have never been as tran — parent as Cellophane. Owners range from wealthy fans to playboys seeking a plaything, to accountants who spy an open-goal opportunity to score a profit. Fans are fickle: they barrack owners when their team is losing, but turn a blind eye to where new money might be coming from if it is being lavished on stars who can boost their team’s fortunes. But the fate of four clubs is currently making a particular mockery of the notion that football’s guardians are fit stewards of the sport.
- The Football League finds itself having to ask Notts County politely to provide it with details of who owns it. The club was bought three months ago by a mysterious investment group called QADBAK, which sounds more like a Bond movie villain than the owner of a football team: QADBAK is thought to registered in the British Virgin Islands. At Leeds, the chairman Ken Bates now confesses that he does not actually know who owns the club. Hang on, didn’t he say earlier that he jointly owned the club’s holding company, the Forward Sports Fund, registered in the Cayman Islands? Bates now says that this was “an error”.
- As for Flavio Briatore, he remains chairman of Queens Park Rangers while the Football League (unhurriedly) waits for him to provide details of the lifetime ban that he received from Formula One. This was issued after the Renault team, of which Briatore was principal, told a driver to crash his car so that his team-mate could win a race. It is not just that Briatore seems to fail the Football League’s “fit and proper persons test”, which bars fraudsters and anyone banned from being involved in administering other sports. It is, rather, this: if Formula One — a sport that has long been under the stewardship of a man who enjoys Germanic-themed spanking sessions with prostitutes, and another who admires the knack dictators have for getting things done — think that Briatore is below the salt, how does football still stomach him? Nobody is suggesting that due process be skirted, simply that it need not take so long.
- And confronted by the fourth foreign owner of Portsmouth in 11 years, the Premier League is investigating the “opaque” investment by Ali al-Faraj and his backers, the club’s latest saviours.
- Lord Triesman, the chairman of the Football Association, has now demanded “full disclosure” of details of investors in any club. He might himself start by disclosing why it is that football’s overseers do not satisfy themselves about the merits of potential owners before they buy a club, as would happen elsewhere in the financial world, rather than scrabbling to shed light into dark corners long after mysterious deals have been struck.
- Transparency is paramount. If football’s guardians cannot deliver it they will, rightly, be deemed to be every bit as unfit and unproper to play a role in administering the sport as any secretive investor they may feel motivated to investigate. The Times

- The Football League Trust has awarded QPR Community Trust The Football League Silver status for their Community work.
- The Trust will receive £48,000 to invest into Community activities as part of the Football League Trust's £1.72m pledge to Community schemes across the country.
- Football League Trust General Manager Dave Edmundson said: "I would like to heartily congratulate all the clubs who have achieved their Silver award.
- "This is a wonderful indication of the new levels of impact and engagement that schemes are bringing to the communities they serve.
-"More importantly, this demonstrates the impressive range of projects and initiatives delivered by League clubs in all four themes, and the partnerships being established in both the public and private sectors."
- Edmundson added: "Overall standards are high, and there is no doubt that the Trust, along with the support of all the clubs, intend to maintain this rising trend of improvement."
- QPR Community Trust CEO Andy Evans said: "We have welcomed the Football League Trust's vision for increased partnership work, improving standards with a purpose to make a real difference to the communities the club serves.
- "This financial support will contribute to some of the core costs associated to running many of our initiatives.
- "We are very fortunate we have many excellent partners, funders and sponsors who contribute so much in many different ways in order for us to reach out to the people of West London."
- "We are eagerly awaiting the criteria for the Football League Gold Status to be sent out for which the charity will strive to achieve at the earliest opportunity.''
- To achieve Silver status, QPR Community Trust had to fulfil a range of criteria set out by the Trust.
- These included:
- • An approved level of governance, including representation of at least one senior club executive and at least two strategically-chosen external trustees on the scheme's board
- • At least one themed officer working on projects relating to one of The Football League Trust's four core themes (social inclusion/ community cohesion, health, education and sports participation)
• A minimum of a three-year business plan showing sustainable programmes being delivered across all four of The Football League Trust's core themes.
• Evidence of how funding provided by The Football League Trust is being utilized and how it will be used to attract additional funding into the schemes
• Evidence of how schemes are linked into local decision making groups, for example Local Strategic Partnerships
• Evidence on how the schemes works with the Football Club on issues relating to youth development
• A strong player appearance policy
• Charitable status in place
- All clubs must also had to meet The Football League Trust Minimum Charter standard." QPR

Stroud News and Journal - Hockaday swoops for Ford
- FOREST GREEN manager Dave Hockaday has made former QPR defender Josh Ford his eleventh signing since he took the helm at the New Lawn a month ago.

Central defender Ford, 19, signed forms for Rovers this afternoon after spending the week training with Hockaday’s squad and playing for the Reserves against Reading in the Football Combination on Monday.

Bristol-born Ford was on the books of Bristol City before he moved as a scholar to Championship club Queens Park Rangers in 2006, being offered his first ever professional contract last season. He left the R's, after having his contract terminated by mutual consent in January. He also enjoyed a spell on loan at Swansea City and has subsequently played for Blue Square Premier Rushden. Ford said: “The gaffer believes I have what it takes and when I look at Ollie Thorne, who at the same age has adapted quite well to a second chance in the Blue Square Premier, then I have to grab this opportunity to stay in the professional game.”

Hockaday said: “There is an abundance of young talent in this country just seeking that chance to prove people wrong. I have already signed several who fit this category and I am prepared to give them that chance. In the case of Josh it is now down to him to grab the shirt and do the business.”

Ford is allocated Squad number 25 and will no doubt feature in the squad for the visit of high-flying AFC Wimbledon to the New Lawn tomorrow, with Lee Ayres likely to be missing off the bench due to further injuries problems. News and Journal

Mirror- QPR Prog-Art: Something psychedelic for the weekend, sir?
By Got Not Got
Influenced heavily by the swinging psychedelic London scene at the end of the 1960s, the QPR programme designer decided to get with-it. To go dayglo. Op Art. Crazee, baby.
- Within a few short years, he’d successfully used every one of the lairiest colours in his felt pen set – pink, orange, lime green, puce – on the cover of the so-called Bush Telegraph.
- As for blue – don’t be such a reactionary, hung-up old bore.
-Blue was the colour of depression, police oppression and Chelsea.

Blue was strictly old hat, maan.

Today, they’d probably be forced to include a Health & Safety warning for staring too hard at the covers. Nevertheless, the programmes were among the best of the time in terms of content, and they’ve gone down in collector history as something of a design classic... Picture - Mirror

Paul Warburton/London Informer - Warbo's word: QPR fans have short memories
- SCANNING QPR messageboards over the last three weeks, I was beginning to think the club's chairmanship had been handed to a Mr O Bin-Laden.
- It was only closer inspection that showed a now 'morally bankruped' (sic) club was still presided over by the bloke being discussed by the Football League committee right now.
- Flavio Briatore's fate on whether he is a 'fit and proper person' to be a director of QPR should be known pretty soon.
- And if they give the Italian the thumbs down after the events of
- 'Crashgate' - and forgive me if I don't go through this for the third week running - it looks as if we'll get a new Rangers supremo.
- But, according to fans who peck away day-and-night on the web, it's come to a pretty pass when someone like Briatore doesn't fall on his QPR sword as a result of the fallout from the Renault scandal. I would remind said fans two years ago they would have welcomed Ronnie Biggs to the Rangers board had the old train robber salted away his ill-gotten gains.
- A club about to go under, and certainly into administration for the second time, was rescued by Briatore, who also lured in fellow Formula One pal Bernie Ecclestone - and, more significantly, billionaire Lakshmi Mittal. It will be the latter's further investment that keeps the club ticking towards a Premiership return should Flav forfeit.
- I'm not here to praise Briatore. I'm not here to bury him either - he seems to have done that well enough himself - but the son of Satan? Supporters ought to remind themselves that a skint League One club is closer to hell. London Informer

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