Change had to happen – Bhatia

Amit Bhatia insists QPR needed change at the top in order to stand any chance of surviving in the Premier League.

Bhatia is back at Loftus Road as company vice-chairman – the position he quit in May after a disagreement with Flavio Briatore.

He will work alongside new majority shareholder Tony Fernandes and believes the pair can help establish Rangers in the top flight.

“We badly needed stability at the club,” Bhatia told West London Sport.

“You can get away with certain things in the Championship but in the Premier League you’re playing on a different stage and you have to conduct yourself in a certain way. It’s different.

“Now, there is absolute 100% certainty that Flavio and Bernie are no longer involved with QPR. They have no ties with the club left. Their involvement is completely finished.”

“I’ve sat down with Tony and discussed with him where I think we can make this club better and replicate the success of last season.”

He added: “I’m thrilled to be back. I received an incredible amount of support when I resigned. I received literally hundreds of letters from fans.

“I was very humbled by it – and felt very sad too, actually, because some people obviously felt I’d done some good and wanted me to stay involved, yet circumstances meant I couldn’t.

“It makes coming back that much sweeter. I couldn’t be happier. I really feel this is the start of something special for the club.”

Last year it was suggested the Mittal family had ousted Briatore from power, which was never the case.

But Bhatia says this time there is no room for doubt that the Briatore era is over, and that all ties to the Italian and former co-owner Bernie Ecclestone have been cut.

Bhatia has a close relationship with manager Neil Warnock

Bhatia said:  “Last season I was very much the one guiding the club along with Neil Warnock until Flavio and Bernie did get involved again.

“Now, there is absolute 100% certainty that Flavio and Bernie are no longer involved with QPR. Their shares have totally been bought and they have no board representation.

“They have no ties with the club left. Balance sheet, debt, amounts owed – all of it. Their involvement with QPR is completely finished.”

Bhatia says that also applies to ownership of the Loftus Road ground, which effectively passed into Briatore’s hands when he facilitated a loan to pay off the infamous £10m debt to ABC Corporation, which was secured using the stadium as collateral so that Rangers could come out of administration in 2002.

“That loan will probably continue to exist, but it has now been bought off [by the new regime],” Bhatia explained.

“The stadium loan when we inherited the club was a loan that was unfair on QPR and brought an extremely high rate of interest.

“We decided to replace the loan with our own loan, which was done on an interest-free basis. It was to lighten the burden on the club.

“It is a [current] shareholders’ loan to the club which no longer involves Flavio and is non-interest bearing. I think that’s the most sound and rational way of doing it.”

Bhatia confirmed the new-look board are reviewing the position of Gianni Paladini, who has been stripped of the role of club chairman – a title he held for six years and retained despite a number of changes to the company board.

“Flavio and Bernie are out and Gianni’s situation has to be reviewed,” he said.

“He brings some value to the club, but there are other things that we have to make sure are treated correctly and done in the proper way.

“Over a period of time, we’ll make decisions. For now Gianni remains at the club, but what the future holds for him we’ll just have to wait and see.”