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Thursday, May 26, 2011

QPR Update: Flavio Briatore Speaks about His QPR Role, Warnock and Paladini


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Reuters - Queens Park Rangers co-owner Flavio Briatore on Thursday ruled out taking a more hands-on role at the west London club now that they are back in the Premier League.
The former Renault Formula One team boss, making an appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix, also told Reuters that he and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had no plans to sell the club and had complete confidence in manager Neil Warnock making the right moves in the transfer market.

"No, I don't want to (get more involved), absolutely not," said the Italian.

"The coach and (chairman) Gianni Paladini are the ones involved right now. Nothing has changed, absolutely nothing. I don't want to be involved at all."

Briatore stepped down as QPR chairman in February last year after being barred from Formula One activities as a result of a race-fixing scandal.

He, Ecclestone and Indian steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal bought QPR, who secured promotion as Championship (second division) winners last month, in 2007.

The club's vice-chairman Amit Bhatia, Mittal's son-in-law, resigned on Wednesday after saying in a statement that his "vision, strategy and direction for the club is very different from that of the other shareholders and board members."


Mittal was quoted as saying last week that he would be making a bid for full control of the club, but he was rebuffed by Ecclestone who said he had not been consulted. Briatore said there would be no change of ownership.

"Forget about selling, Bernie and I we are together and we own 70 percent of the club. This is what we have," said the Italian. "We go ahead like we have from day one.

"The plan for QPR is...to make sure next season we are competitive, we keep all the good players we have in the squad at the moment and the coach is now looking to set up a very good club for next season," said Briatore.

Asked about spending and the club's possible budget for players, he replied: "This is the coach's decision. We have complete trust in Neil. We try to help him have the best squad for next year to be competitive."

With speculation continuing about the manager's future, Briatore was adamant that Warnock would be staying. "Not for one minute was there any doubt about Neil," he said.

Briatore, a regular at Monaco Grand Prix time, remains banned from active involvement in Formula One until 2013 and he said he had no plans to return.

"I am just here now. I think it would be nice to be here at lunchtime," he quipped, standing outside Ecclestone's motorhome in the paddock.

"Formula One is a really great situation, great sport and I love a lot to be part like a big fan of Formula One. But in this moment I don't have any plans to come back.

"It's much better if you stay out and watch on TV. This year we've had fantastic races, I enjoy it very much, I think it's super." QPR

EVENING STANDARD/Simon Johnson - Queens Park Rangers in turmoil

Queens Park Rangers were today plunged into fresh turmoil after vice-chairman Amit Bhatia resigned from the club's board.

Bhatia, who along with his father-in-law, billionaire steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, own 33 per cent of the club, were looking to buy out fellow co-owners Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore. But Formula One supremo Ecclestone turned down the Mittal's £50million offer this week for his majority shareholding.

This, plus the decision to sack Bhatia's close friend and ally, Ishan Saksena, as chairman and the announcement that season-ticket prices will rise by as much as 40 per cent next season, have led to a breakdown between the owners.

Ecclestone is believed to have taken a more hands-on role at Loftus Road since Neil Warnock's side earned promotion to the Premier League.

The manager's position is now under threat again, as Bhatia and Saksena were Warnock's two biggest allies in the boardroom, with Ecclestone and Briatore both known to favour appointing a continental coach.

Standard Sport understands, though, that Bhatia will continue his fight to gain overall control of the club. His next move will be to nominate Saksena for a seat on the board as a director.

This will be of some comfort to Warnock, who has forged a successful close working relationship with the Mittals.

Bhatia could not hide his frustration at the developments in a statement. He said: "It is clear from recent board meetings that my vision, strategy and direction for the club is very different from that of the other shareholders and board members.

"The recent decisions to sack club CEO and chairman Ishan Saksena and significantly increase season ticket prices are just two of the decisions I disagree with.

"While it saddens me to leave QPR, I do not wish to be associated with decisions made by the board and with which I disagree so strongly.

"The Mittal family had been in discussions concerning the possible acquisition of the club. However, we have been unable to reach agreement on this matter and therefore those discussions have now come to an end.

"Although no longer a decision-maker at QPR, I shall continue to be a 33 per cent owner and a fan of the club. In due course, we will appoint a board representative to monitor my family's investment in the club." Standard

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