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Sunday, May 09, 2010

QPR Report Sunday Snippets


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- On This Day: QPR's Relegation-Avoiding Final Game: QPR 6 Crystal Palace 0

- Flashback Three Years: Re the Proposed "Blitz Loan"

- After 139 Years Chesterfield's Stadium Closes

-Premier League's Richard Scudmore Defends Premiership Ways

News of The World/Neil Ahston - WARNOCK: Big changes planned
NEIL WARNOCK has fired his backroom staff as part of a massive internal shake-up at QPR.

The Rangers chief will bring in his own men from former club Crystal Palace.

Warnock is getting rid of physios Paul Hunter and Shane Annun, along with other members of the backroom team at Loftus Road with reserve team coach Keith Ryan under threat.

The abrasive boss has been given the full backing by the Rangers board to make the changes necessary to take them into the Premier League.

He also wants Eagles keeper Julian Speroni, midfielder Darren Ambrose and right-back Nathaniel Clyne. News of The World

Emirates Business - Flavio Briatore isn't succumbing to career injuries.
By Keith J Fernandez
Published Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mohi-Din BinHendi, third right, and Founder of Billionaire couture Flavio Briatore, fourth right, pose during the opening of the store in Dubai. (MUSTAFA KASMI)

He may have crashed and burned rather spectacularly, but Flavio Briatore isn't succumbing to any injuries his career may have suffered.

Even as he considers a return to Formula One, the flamboyant Italian tycoon, who was handed a life ban last year for his involvement in a race-fixing scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, has turned his attention to growing his Billionaire lifestyle brand instead.

Briatore and UAE franchise partner Mohi-din BinHendi inaugurated a Billionaire shop at The Dubai Mall this weekend. The Middle Eastern flagship store is the brand's seventh standalone outlet and Briatore is now eyeing an aggressive expansion across Asia and Eastern Europe.

"We will open another 10 stores in the next 14 months," he told Emirates Business at the launch. "Two more in Moscow, one in Sardinia, Istanbul, Kazakhstan and India." The luxury-loving former Formula One magnate said the new Russian stores would be the first to open.

He refused to say how much the expansion would cost or how it would be funded. "I don't know. We spend whatever we need, to do a proper job, to have a beautiful shop, so everything is perfect."

While more stores in the Middle East have yet to be finalised, Briatore said he wanted to retail out of Abu Dhabi and Lebanon.

"If I find a shop which is appropriately located to position the brand correctly, I will do it tomorrow," BinHendi added. "This is only the first store."

The President of BinHendi Enterprises said the franchise agreement covered the UAE and gave his company first right of refusal for other countries in the region. "I'm looking at Kuwait very definitely and Qatar is also an upcoming market," he said.

Briatore, 60, created the Billionaire brand in 1998 and owns a club in Sardinia with the same name. A Middle Eastern branch could open soon, he added, pointing to Dubai and Beirut as possible venues. "We are looking for a location and we are looking at different possibilities. We will decide in the next few months," he said.

The brand is currently confined to whimsical products for men such as monogrammed socks and slippers embroidered with one's personal astrological sign. They are sold at nosebleed-inducing prices and have reportedly found favour with the likes of David Beckham and Paul McCartney.

Briatore said that future extensions for the label lay in garments for women. "But for now we'll consolidate the men's brand," he said.

Briatore and former Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds last month reached an agreement with the FIA, Formula One's governing body, that allows them to return to the sport in 2013. The pair had originally been banned for allegedly ordering Nelson Piquet Jr to crash at the Singapore Grand Prix. However, both men appealed the decision and in early January won their cases at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris which found that the FIA sanction was illegal. While the FIA had formerly decided to appeal that decision, they issued a statement last month that declaring the dispute over.

"Maybe I come back. For the moment, I take one year off and concentrate on Billionaire," Briatore said in Dubai in a statement. "It's nice to be a spectator some times as well. "In the meantime, I have a baby," he added, referring to his son Falco Nathan, who was born in March to Briatore's model wife, Elisabetta Gregoraci.

And what of speculation that he is close to selling the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) Football Club, which he bought together with F1 President and CEO Bernie Ecclestone, from a consortium in 2007?

"Everything's for sale, everything's for buying," he said, refusing to rule out a sale of his stake. "But what's more important is that the price needs to be right."

Emirates Business

Watford Observer - Watford hope to re-sign Arsenal youngster and QPR striker next season but money could be a problem

Watford hope to re-sign Henri Lansbury and Heidar Helguson next season but Malky Mackay has admitted the Queens Park Rangers striker’s wages could be a stumbling block.

.....Helguson was a lot clearer regarding where he wants to be next season.

When asked if he hopes to return, Helguson replied: “If things get sorted out and we can come to some sort of an agreement then yes, absolutely.”

Helguson, who scored 11 goals in 29 matches during his two loan spells at Watford this season, plans to speak to new Rangers manager Neil Warnock in the next few weeks to discuss his future.

Watford’s financial problems are well documented and Mackay claimed “it is something that is not in our control”.

Mackay said: “He has another year left at a football club which has another set of management and another set of directors involved.

“That is going to be a trickier situation [than Lansbury’s] and is obviously at a different end of the pay scale as well. It is something that is going to have to be talked about between Heidar and QPR.”

Helguson, who is one goal short of breaking into the club’s top ten all-time leading goalscorers, is understood to be on more than £15,000 a week and QPR were subsidising part of his wages during the loan spells.

The striker would almost certainly have to take a pay cut should he move back to Vicarage Road permanently, or QPR may have to continue to pay a proportion of his wages.

Helguson admitted: “That [wages] is one of the things that we need to look at if we are going to make it happen but I can’t really say too much. We have to wait and see what happens. I will probably find out a bit more after I speak to the manager [Warnock].

“Nothing has been mentioned since the day after I arrived. With the situation with all the games, everything was put on hold so we will see what happens.” Watford Observer

Berkhampstead People/Lara King - Celebrities descend on Berkhamsted for football fundraiser

A host of famous faces will descend on Berkhamsted's Broadwater football ground for a charitable kick-about tomorrow (May 9).

Actors Ralf Little and Gary Beadle will be joined by cricketer Darren Gough and an array of former professional footballers to raise money for the Hospice of St Francis and Berkhamsted Football Club.

The stars will take on a team made up of Comrades players and employees of Stoneforce, the club's sponsors.

The football legends donning their boots include Dennis Wise, Dougie Freedman, Steve Lomas, Jim Magilton, Kevin Gallen and Steve Sedgley

Marc Bircham, formerly of QPR and Canada, who organised the event, said: 'I wanted to do something for the hospice. They do such good work and this is something I could do for them.'

The game kicks off at 11am.

Berkhampsead People


AN EMERGENCY meeting will take place tomorrow to try to resolve the row over the cash the Premier League gives to Football League clubs and prevent a potential Championship breakaway.

The Premier League has threatened to stop all solidarity payments if the Football League refuses to accept the terms of a new £400m package for the next three seasons, which includes increasing parachute payments for relegated clubs from £22m over two years to £48m over four years.

Representatives of the 72 sides outside the top flight meet at Walsall's Bescot Stadium with the deadline for a response less than two weeks away, but if they cannot agree Championship clubs could leave the Football League and set up a Premier League second division.

Although some Championship clubs expressed concerns, 23 of the 24 are believed to have supported the Premier League's 'take it or leave it' offer at a meeting last month.

But League One and Two clubs unanimously refused to back the plans, even though they would increase the payment to each side from £108,000 to £325,000 per year in League One and £72,000 to £250,000 in League Two..

The 48 lower-ranked clubs believe the increased parachute payments would create a closed shop where the same teams would stay in the top two tiers of English football and the others would have less chance of rising up through the divisions, and staying up.

They are also opposed to the Premier League's demand that both leagues should have the same set of rules because they think it would take away independence from the Football League, which has often led the way in making regulations to improve the running of the game."News of The World

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