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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Update re Briatore Quitting QPR

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Telegraph/By Sandy Macaskill - Flavio Briatore planning to sell stake in QPR
- Flavio Briatore is considering selling his stake in Queens Park Rangers after 2½ years as chairman.
- The Italian, who was at one stage so in love with the west London club that he took to walking the Loftus Road corridors in slippers embroidered with the QPR coat of arms, has already begun courting outside investors.
- Telegraph Sport can reveal that Briatore has told close friends that he had already planned to leave at the end of the season should the team again fail to qualify for the play-offs.
- However, the former Renault principal’s legal issues with world motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, over the 'Crashgate’ scandal, a lingering concern that he could become the first to fail the Football League’s fit and proper persons test, and the rumoured possibility of becoming president of Juventus are thought to have acted as catalysts.
- The most popular scenario among supporters would be for Amit Bhatia, the club’s vice-chairman, and his father-in-law Lakshmi Mittal, Britain’s wealthiest man, to relieve Briatore of the burden of his shares and assume total control.
- However, Briatore entertained potential American investors during QPR’s FA Cup defeat to Sheffield United at Loftus Road on Tuesday, which in turn has encouraged other as-yet unnamed parties who have the finances, to begin taking soundings as to whether Briatore’s partners, including Bernie Ecclestone, would be prepared to consider a full takeover.
- It comes at a time of severe instability for the club, who are 10th in the Championship and again without a permanent manager. Paul Hart became the shortest lived manager in their history when he resigned after just 28 days – one less day than Tommy Docherty in November 1968 – because of the erosion of his influence in the dressing room.
- Hart’s assistant manager, Mick Harford, has assumed control for the away trip to Blackpool on Saturday afternoon – the club’s ninth manager since August 2007 – having received a late call from the board on Thursday night once it emerged that Hart did not have the support of the board over his disagreement with Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt.
- Harford, 50, is now looking at this as an opportunity to stake his claim for the role on a permanent basis, something he failed to do when appointed caretaker after John Gregory was sacked in 2007.
- There is speculation that Harford’s friend, former Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear, could take on an advisory role, but whoever is chosen to succeed Hart must have the quality best summed up by Bradley Allen, the QPR striker, who observed on Friday that whatever else, it must be a man “with rhino skin”.

QPR managers since Flavio Briatore became chairman in August 2007:
John Gregory: Sept 2006–Oct 2007; now at Maccabi Ahi Nazareth (Israel).
Mick Harford (caretaker): Oct 2007–Oct 2007; now back at QPR.
Luigi De Canio: Oct 2007–May 2008; now at Lecce (Italy).
Iain Dowie: May 2008–Oct 2008; now unemployed.
Gareth Ainsworth (caretaker): Oct 2008–Nov 2008; had spell on loan at Wycombe.
Paulo Sousa: Nov 2008–April 2009; now at Swansea City.
Gareth Ainsworth (caretaker): April 2009–June 2009.
Jim Magilton: June 2009–Dec 2009; now unemployed.
Steve Gallen & Marc Bircham (caretakers): Dec 2009–Dec 2009; still at QPR.
Paul Hart: Dec 2009–Jan 2010; now unemployed.
Mick Harford (caretaker): Jan 2010–. Telegraph

Mirror/James Nursey - Flavio Briatore set to quit QPR - Exclusive
- Flavio Briatore is set to be the next high-profile departure from crisis-club QPR - sparking a possible takeover.
- Mirror Sport revealed yesterday manager Paul Hart, 56, had been forced out of Rangers after just 29 days in charge.
- Hart fell victim to player power at Loftus Road after clashing with Morrocan star Adel Taarabt as we revealed on Thursday.
- And now controversial Italian Briatore, chairman of QPR Holdings Limited, is close to leaving the club as well.
- Briatore, 49, bought into Rangers in 2007 with F1 pal Bernie Ecclestone - who were later joined as co-owners by multi-billionaire Lakshmi Mittal.
- But Briatore is now planning to sell his stake to new outside investors as he moves to severe his links with QPR.
- Briatore has openly told colleagues at Loftus Road he will be leaving the club in the near future.
- The colourful Italian brought members of an American consortium to Rangers’ last home game in the FA Cup against Sheffield United.
- And Briatore’s decision to sell his stake in QPR could well precipitate an entire takeover of the club.
- Briatore’s plans to move on will be welcomed by some QPR fans after accusations of meddling in team selection.
- He has also been behind the astonishing hiring and firing of eight different managers since arriving at the club.
- Briatore’s reputation has been in tatters since leaving his F1 post as Renault team principal after allegations of fixing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
- These were brought after Nelson Piquet Jr revealed he had been ordered to crash to help team-mate Fernando Alonso.
- Briatore was then banned by the FIA which sparked claims he might not be a ‘fit and proper person’ to run QPR.
- Briatore has remained at QPR but the doubts about his character have not ended despite having his FIA ban overturned by a legal challenge.
- His hands-on attitude at Rangers has certainly infuriated previous managers like Iain Dowie.
- But club insiders insist Hart’s successor Mick Harford will do a good job until the end of the season as he steps up from assistant.
- And there is a belief at Loftus Road they made a big mistake getting rid of Harford in October 2007 when he was last caretaker to bring in Luigi de Canio.
- Harford, in charge until the summer, knows promotion is wanted by the club’s ambitious hierarchy ahead of today’s trip to Blackpool.
- He said: “I am going to try and get the team back to winning ways and get us climbing the table.
- “The team have only won once in their last ten and that’s something we need to look at.
- “It’s a sad occasion with the manager leaving his post but that happens in football.
- “I have been given what I consider an opportunity to stake my claim for the job.
- “We are only four points away from the play-offs.
- “We’ve got two difficult away fixtures coming up against Blackpool and Nottingham Forest and that’s what we are preparing for " Mirror

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