Stability the key as Fernandes hints at QPR ticket price review
Malaysian completes takeover of Rangers
Malaysian business tycoon Tony Fernandes has promised to bring stability to QPR after completing his takeover of the club on Thursday – and hinted his first priority may be to review ticket prices.
Fernandes ends a turbulent spell for the club by buying out previous owners Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, and will now own a majority 66 per cent of QPR, while Lakshmi Mittal and son-in-law Amit Bhatia, who returns to his role as vice-chairman, retain their 33 per cent stake.
The 47-year-old founder of Air Asia rides into west London on a wave of optimism, and while he is offering his immediate support to manager Neil Warnock in the transfer market, he also wants to ensure that the club has stability off then pitch in the coming years.
That may be set to begin with a review of ticket prices at Loftus Road, which were raised by 40 per cent by the previous owners in May, a move which resulted in vice-chairman Amit Bhatia resigning.
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“I’m not here to say where I want to go, results will speak for themselves over the years, but definitely this is a long-term project,” said Fernandes. “There is a raw potential, and if we give it the attention and the right investment, it could grow to something nice.
“It’s something that excited me a lot because I can see the latent potential.
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On reviewing ticket prices, Fernandes said: “Definitely, we will seek views from the management, we’ll seek views from the fans. My view is this is a club for everybody, and if we have to make changes then we have to make changes.
“I’m not someone who’s going to rush into anything, I like to get good consensus, but if we’re going to make an announcement one way or another, it’s going to be before the next home game.
“My whole life has been building things. I think football is a fantastic business if it is run well. QPR is in a fantastic location and has huge potential to develop into something special.
“You can’t run any venture, be it sport, as a business that isn’t profitable. You have to build a proper structure for the business to develop, and I’m not saying it’s going to be possible tomorrow, but certainly that’s the ambition, so that when future generations take over this club they’ve got a good infrastructure and a good management.”
Returning vice-chairman Bhatia said: “I’m very excited to welcome Tony to QPR and having spent considerable time with him, know that we share the same vision and values.
“We have discussed in great detail how to restore pride at the club, and I’m very pleased with the outcome of these discussions.”
Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes