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Friday, May 27, 2011

Joint Statement from Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore

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Originally posted by Scott on the WATRB site from a reported QPR email

Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore have today (Friday 27th May 2011) clarified the following points in the wake of recent press reports regarding Queens Park Rangers Football Club.

Bernie Ecclestone and the Flavio Briatore Trust (FB Trust) saved QPR from administration when they acquired the Club in 2007. When the Mittals joined them, FB Trust and Ecclestone maintained an 80% interest in the Club and provided 80% of the funding needed to run QPR.

In 2009 when Briatore took a backseat at QPR, FB Trust passed a 13% shareholding in QPR to the Mittals free of charge. This took Ecclestone and the FB Trust's combined shareholding to 67% and they have continued to fund 67% of the Club's financial need, with the Mittals contributing 33%.

When Ecclestone and Briatore took over at QPR, they were clear about their vision to take the Club into the Premier League within four years and this plan has now been achieved, with QPR set to grace the top-flight of English football in the 2011/12 season.

Both Ecclestone and Briatore believe that Amit Bhatia's recent comments and the subsequent press coverage have been damaging to QPR and do not fairly reflect the reality of the situation. They have not received a written offer from the Mittals for their QPR shares and feel strongly that the verbal offer made to them was insultingly low. Bhatia appears to be using the press to try to force the price of any deal down, which is disrespectful to both the Club and its fans.

Despite the assertions from both Bhatia and Lakshmi Mittal that they were prepared to invest heavily in QPR to allow Neil Warnock to spend money on new players ahead of the new season, a recent request for shareholder funding was rejected by Bhatia, whereas Ecclestone and FB Trust have met and will continue to meet their funding commitments to the Club.

Ishan Saksena has parted company with QPR as a result of managerial changes that the Board felt were appropriate after the way in which the FA Hearing was handled. This was a decision made by the Board for the best interests of QPR.

QPR's Season Ticket prices for the 2011/12 season are in line with other London-based Premier League Clubs and are reflective of the Club's newly achieved Premier League status. With over 90% of QPR Season Tickets being sold in Gold and Silver areas, the year-on-year increase in the standard price of a Season Ticket for the majority of fans is between 22%-27%, or 16%-21% when taking account of inflation and the increase in VAT. Ecclestone and Briatore believe that although price increases have been necessary, they are not unduly high and initial sales have so far been encouraging, with four times as many tickets being sold in the first 48 hours when compared with last season. In fact, QPR's website has spoken to a number of fans who have already renewed their tickets.

"My ticket has gone up in price, but - personally - I think it represents good value for money."

"The owners have put their money in and as a supporter of the Club, I've done the same, because it's my team."

"The buzz of coming along to Loftus Road on a matchday is special. The whole experience is great."

As both Ecclestone and Briatore have stated in recent days, Neil Warnock's post as Manager remains secure and Neil has the full support of the Board. Discussions have already taken place between Neil and the Board, in which Neil outlined his thoughts on player acquisitions ahead of the new Premier League season and was assured that he will be able to keep his best players for QPR's return to the Premier League.


QPR Official Site - FAN ZONEPosted on: Fri 27 May 2011

R's fan Richard Lewis was amongst the first QPR supporters to renew his Season Ticket for the 2011/12 Premier League campaign when they went on sale on Tuesday lunchtime.

Lewis, a lifelong Rangers supporter, renewed his Season Ticket in Block F of the South Africa Road stand.

The 59 year-old told www.qpr.co.uk: "It's great to hear I was amongst the first to renew my Season Ticket!

"I just had to renew it as soon as possible, because next season is going to be one to remember for the Club. I knew demand would be huge on our return to the Premier League and I was determined to keep my aisle seat.

"My ticket has gone up in price, but - personally - I think it represents good value for money."

The feel-good factor ahead of the new campaign is already building in W12 and Lewis added: "I can't wait for the season to start in mid-August," he said.

"I've been coming here since I was eight years-old and this is the place to be now.

"The owners have put their money in and as a supporter of the Club, I've done the same, because it's my team."

Demand for Season Tickets at Loftus Road is already outweighing last year's statistics at this stage, with Hoops fans eager to seal their ticket for the R's eagerly-anticipated return to the top table of English football.

Fellow R's fan Michael Prodromou, who also sits in Block F, added: "I've been a supporter for 40 odd years.

"It's been a long time coming since we were in the Premier League.

"We're back in the big time and I was determined to clinch my seat as soon as possible.

"The buzz of coming along to Loftus Road on a matchday is special. The whole experience is great.

"I'm confident that if Neil Warnock is able to bring in the players he wants, we'll be able to hold our own next season." QPR


QPR1st Supporters Trust: Amit Bhatia

The QPR1st Supporters Trust wishes to express our sadness at the news of Amit Bhatia's resignation. Amit had a very clear vision of QPR as a Club that should respect and listen to supporters' views. He was keen to work in partnership with independent supporters groups and sought to ensure that the views and aspirations of the fans were taken into account by the Board of Directors.

Amit also had a passionate belief that QPR should have a strong role within the local community. As Chairman of the QPR in the Community Trust he played a major role in ensuring that QPR in the Community went from strength to strength.

Amit fully appreciated the harm done to the relationship between the Club and the fans by the ticket pricing system introduced for the 2008-09 Season, in particular the removal of a discount for existing season ticket holders and the extent of the increase. He would have been determined that the Club did not repeat these mistakes but unfortunately failed to convince his fellow Board members. Unable to publically support the Club's pricing policy and concerned at the treatment of his friend and colleague Ishan Sakensa, his sense of honour left him with no choice but to resign.

In his open letter, Amit comments that his vision, strategy and direction for QPR is 'very different' from that of the other shareholders. That begs the question as to what exactly their plans are. Mr Ecclestone and Mr Briatore have so far not been willing to meet with QPR1st and therefore our only clues as to what they have in mind comes the interviews they have given to journalists which offer scant comfort to the fans. Despite their previous lack of enthusiasm to meet face to face with us and other independent supporters groups, we will nevertheless write to them to request a meeting in the hope that they will sooner or later begin to see the value of working in partnership with the fans rather than in opposition.

QPR 1st has always sought to work with the club to promote on field success and financial viability. We share the delight of everyone in the QPR community at a successful season and a return to the FA Premier League. We now want to see the club grow and develop. The way we see this being achieved is by having stable management at all levels of the club. We hope the owners use their financial and business skills to ensure the club remains financially secure. We hope the football management, staff and players will be given the appropriate environment to deliver success. Most of all we want to see mutual respect between all parts of the QPR community that will allow every-one of us to make our club successful.

QPR1st wishes to offer the LSA our support in their decision to host an open meeting for fans at the Barley Mow Public House 82 Duke Street W1K 6JG to which they have asked the Club to send a representative. We hope that this meeting will provide an opportunity to canvass fans views about a possible campaign of protest. We would also welcome hearing your views by emailing us at info@qpr1st.com to help inform our own response.

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