QPR widen search for new stadium site

QPR: Loftus Road

QPR majority shareholder Ruben Gnanalingam says the club are looking at potential sites for a new stadium outside the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

The club say the local council have been unsupportive of Rangers’ interest in the site of the Linford Christie Stadium.

Other possible options in neighbouring boroughs are therefore now being explored.

“It’s not easy to deal with this borough,” Gnanalingam said.

“We might need to look elsewhere to find other spaces which are more viable – and that’s what we are actively looking at right now.

“We don’t have a clear path towards any one of them.

“But I think in this borough it’s just way too hard to convince the people involved that this is something they want to do, even though we think we can create a lot more jobs from it and income for the borough.”

QPR vice-chairmen Ruben Gnanalingam and Tony Fernandes
Gnanalingam and Tony Fernandes took over QPR in 2011

QPR’s owners are keen to leave Loftus Road, which has been the club’s home for most of the past 104 years.

The nearby Linford Christie Stadium site has long been seen as Rangers’ final chance to secure a new home in the borough.

But hopes of building a new ground there have faded – and Gnanalingam concedes the club are unlikely to move in the next decade.

“Within a two-mile radius is really what we’re looking at,” he said.

“We can’t really go south, so north and west we’re trying to figure out what we can find.

“We’re scanning. Are we talking to people? Yes. But does it look likely in the next 10 years? I think that’s going to be tough, to be honest.

“Number one there’s trying to find a site, then you’ve got to get people to agree to what you’d like to do – and then planning permission in this country is a mystery to most people, so that would probably take five years on its own.”

In response, the council restated its long-standing position that QPR’s owners must pay what the land is worth in order to acquire the site or make way for fan-based ownership.

A council statement read: “We are huge supporters of QPR and are willing to bend over backwards to help them as we have done with Fulham FC and Chelsea FC.

“However, QPR have not been in touch with the council on any plans of substance for over two years. At our last meeting with their CEO, we asked him about why they were apparently struggling to find even the £20m funds to build the Warren Farm training ground.

“We’ve told QPR we cannot gift hundreds of millions of pounds worth of public land to QPR’s multi-millionaire overseas owners.

“We have suggested that if QPR are serious about any site in the borough which they need financial help with that they look into a new fan-based ownership scheme for the club so we can guarantee it is the club that benefits and not their owners.”