London – QPR’s Malaysian owner Tony Fernandes has vowed to fight the prospect of a Financial Fair Play fine after his club’s precarious finances were lifted by promotion to the Premier League.
Fernandes was watching from the stands at Wembley on Saturday as 10-man QPR returned to the top-flight with a 1-0 win against Derby in the Championship play-off final.
The result was a huge relief for Fernandes because it guaranteed a much-needed financial windfall next season.
Promotion to the Premier League is worth about £80 million to QPR, who were already due £40 million next season if they had stayed in the Championship as part of the parachute payments given to clubs relegated from the top-flight.
Fernandes might well need that cash injection because QPR are facing the prospect of a £50 million fine for failing to comply with financial guidelines.
Earlier this year the west London outfit recorded a loss of £65.4 million for the period ending May 2013.
Clubs are only entitled to be no more than £8 million in the red under fair play rules.
However, Fernandes has been seeking legal advice and has confirmed he will fight the sanctions in court.
“Will we fight the fine? What do you think? After all we’ve been through, it’s my middle name – ‘Fight It’ Fernandes,” he said on Sunday.
“My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated because the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.
“If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn’t be right. I’m in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down.”
QPR will not be punished for their financial results during the 2012-13 season, when they were in the Premier League, but they will for the current campaign – during which they have carried a debt of £177 million and a wage bill larger than that of Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.
It would not be surprising if the threat of financial sanctions plays a significant role in the club’s transfer plans.
But Fernandes, the chief executive of AirAsia and the team principal of Formula One team Caterham, has invested heavily in Rangers since becoming the club’s majority shareholder in 2011 and he has hinted he is willing to spend again as boss Harry Redknapp plans for the Premier League.
“Harry Redknapp and me are very close and the manager is already talking about new players and next season,” Fernandes said.
“He never stops. After the whistle he was mentioning a couple of players. I think he is relishing being back in the Premier League.
“There is a massive gulf between us and those at the top of the Premier League but we have a great manager who has been up there. We are smarter owners and we will take our time over the summer.
“Nobody is perfect. We will still make mistakes but we will be wiser and smarter.” – Sapa-AFP