Saturday, 7 May 2011

Second guessing Queen's Park Rangers' fate.

As QPR face Leeds United in the final game of their Championship-winning season, we're still no nearer knowing whether they'll be playing in the Premier League next season.

Despite the transgressions of West Ham, who it was decided had benefited from the purchase of Carlos Tevez at the expense of Sheffield United, there's no precedent for the alleged transgressions that Rangers have committed.

QPR are promoted as champions and will be awarded the trophy today, but face seven charges relating to the £3.5million registration of midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in 2009. The club deny everything.

They're represented by Ian Mill QC, who acted for the Blades during the Tevez affair which saw the rules on third-party ownership clarified.

The four-man three-day hearing began at Wembley on Tuesday and it's impossible to guess the outcome of their decision. So I'm going to try. The verdict was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but I think by delaying it they're boxing clever.

Faced by Mill, the QC with the fearsome reputation and the combined ownership of Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal, the Commission needn't draw on anything similar previously and can be seen to look tough without materially changing QPR's promotion.

Therefore, I predict a points deduction which keeps them above third-placed Cardiff, and a six-figure fine. It'll rob them of the title but won't stop the promotion party. The playoffs won't be moved and life will go on.

Governing bodies are running scared in the era of multinational ownership, financial muscle and legal henchman, and this affair will no different.


  1. OK, so it was a £875,000 fine instead of a points deduction, but Jonny's sentiments are otherwise spot on.

    I recognised Ian Mill's name straight away: he was the man who wrote the report into the John Higgins allegations last year for Sport Resolutions UK. I've read his findings in full and I have to say he was thorough, to the point and ruthless in his recommendations. For the record, the VAST majority of the blame for that episode lies with Higgins' former manager, Pat Mooney, whilst Higgins himself was only really guilty of extreme naivity with regards to who he trusted, and his failure to report the approach to World Snooker. Mill's findings, and his recommendations, were spot on in my view.

    As for what's happened with QPR, there was no way in a million years they were ever going to be denied promotion. The sheer financial might of Ecclestone, Briatori and Mittel would inevitably mean that the best lawyers in town would be called in and a long, drawn-out legal battle potentially lasting many months (if not years) would ensue. The FA and the Football League can't possibly compete with their financial clout.

    An £875,000 fine won't exactly keep the owners awake at night, either. It's loose change to them.

    I spent quite a lot of time last week trying to ensure my fellow Cardiff City fans were keeping their hopes with regards to the QPR situation realistic.

    The Bluebirds only have themselves to blame for failing to secure automatic promotion yet again. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton simply isn't up to the job at this level. The defence is often slow and has been non-existent for much of the last month.

    The team has struggled to be sufficiently motivated for matches against supposedly inferior opposition. They've been taking 'three easy points' for granted far too often this season.

    And if reports that three of the players were out drinking 48 hours before the match against Middlesbrough, they should be fired on the spot. Their actions are an insult to the fans who pay to watch them, their manager and everyone involved at the club.

  2. Thanks Marcus. By leaving the decision to the eleventh hour, the FA were almost admitting a weak punishment before it was announced. All they succeeded in doing was place a huge cloud over the whole campaign, it's fans, players and management. It's a huge credit to Neil Warnock and the team for getting on with it anyway. The FA have shown again what ordinary management they have.


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