Time to go, Flavio
By Ben Kosky SINCE Flavio Briatore took control of QPR two years ago, this newspaper has never baulked at offering advice that we felt was in the club s best interests. Even though that advice has tended to fall on deaf ears, this is the right time to del
By Ben Kosky
SINCE Flavio Briatore took control of QPR two years ago, this newspaper has never baulked at offering advice that we felt was in the club's best interests.
Even though that advice has tended to fall on deaf ears, this is the right time to deliver another message to Mr Briatore - a simple, but essential one.
Don't wait for the Football League to analyse Monday's ruling from the World Motorsport Council and act accordingly.
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If you have even the slightest interest in the well-being of QPR and a shred of decency, go NOW.
There may yet turn out to be some loophole that could protect Briatore, disgraced and effectively expelled from Formula One, from a breach of the League's regulations regarding club ownership.
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Frankly, it makes no difference. The events that led to his 'indefinite' ban from Formula One on Monday have already heaped shame on a football club that means a great deal to thousands of people.
The majority of Rangers fans have remained silent throughout the last two years, seemingly blind to the distasteful transformation of their club into Briatore's personal fiefdom.
They have largely turned a blind eye to the outrageous ticket price hikes, the appalling treatment of loyal, long-serving staff and almost ceaseless interference in team affairs.
The constant changes of manager without good reason, the squandering of substantial funds on players like Daniel Parejo and Damiano Tommasi, signed to benefit Briatore's ego rather than the team.
The ruthless way players like Lee Camp and Dexter Blackstock have been cast aside at Briatore's whim, while whichever unfortunate happens to be occupying the manager's office takes the rap.
The lack of any attempt to invest in a youth system for which Rangers were once renowned.
The fact that, despite spin and selective statistics emanating from QPR's public relations department, the team are in no better shape than they were after an initial surge under Luigi De Canio 18 months ago.
All this has passed without protest because, unfortunately, many fans have swallowed the fallacy that, without Briatore, there would be no QPR.
The club would have survived without Briatore. And it will survive after his purple loafers strut through the refurbished Loftus Road lobby for the last time.
Supporters seem fearful that the club could collapse if Briatore leaves - and it would be na�ve to pretend that the road ahead might not be bumpy.
Of course the spectre of financial bankruptcy would be an alarming one. But shouldn't we also be concerned about the moral bankruptcy that the status quo signifies?
As a QPR fan, do you feel comfortable with a man who flouts the rules to fix the outcome of a sporting event, with potentially dangerous consequences, in charge of your club?
For those clinging stubbornly to the hope that all the wrongs could yet be cancelled out by what we all crave - success on the pitch - it's time to face the cold, unforgiving truth.
Briatore will NEVER bring success to QPR because he will not change in any way that might diminish his authority and, as the Renault scandal has shown, he will never admit to making mistakes.
We have heard not a single word of remorse from Briatore for his actions at the Singapore Grand Prix. But it would be a relief to hear him say now that he intends to sell his majority stake in QPR Holdings.
It may fall to his fellow board members to tell Briatore his time is up. But the fans can play a part, by joining our campaign, by voicing their disapproval at matches, or even staying away from matches altogether.
Briatore may not care. But do you?
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