Fernandes to be unveiled as QPR supremo

Tony Fernandes will this afternoon be unveiled as the new QPR chairman and majority shareholder.

Amit Bhatia, who has long been keen to join forces with a potential buyer, is returning to his role as company vice-chairman.

Rangers expect to make an announcement at 1.30pm, with Fernandes then due to join Warnock for a 2pm press conference.
Warnock’s scheduled press call to preview Saturday’s match against Everton – which was to take place early today at the club’s Harlington training ground – was postponed earlier this week, and he will now appear alongside Fernandes at Loftus Road.
Fernandes is the boss of AirAsia and the Lotus Formula 1 team, and a friend of QPR owners Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone.
This summer he emerged as a candidate to fill the void left by the departures of Bhatia and Ishan Saksena.
Bhatia, son-in-law of stakeholder Lakshmi Mittal, stood down in May.
Warnock is due to appear with Fernandes at a 2pm press conference

He was unhappy at the removal of Saksena as company chairman and managing director, while another hike in ticket prices made Bhatia’s position untenable given his fan-friendly image and apologies for previous increases.

The club has been in a state of uncertainty since, with finance director Rebecca Caplehorn filling in as acting chief executive and Briatore taking overall control of affairs.
Last year, with discontent rife among supporters and the club searching for a yet another new manager, Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini relinquished his additional title of sporting director and Briatore stood down as QPR Holdings chairman.
Saksena was installed in his place, the popular Bhatia was seen to take on a greater role, and it was suggested the Mittals had effectively ousted Briatore from the club.
That was never the case, but the feel-good factor of a supposed Mittal takeover sparked a transformation in Rangers’ fortunes and promotion was achieved, fulfilling Briatore’s dream of owning a Premier League club.
But his presence is again causing controversy and he was barracked by fans as Saturday’s top-flight opener at home to Bolton ended in a humiliating 4-0 defeat.
It is hoped the arrival of Fernandes will reinvigorate the club once again, and the 47-year-old has indicated that Warnock will be given money to spend on new players before the transfer window closes.
Born in Malaysia, Fernandes was educated in England, attending Epsom College and later the London School of Economics.
He is a West Ham fan and earlier this year was linked a takeover of the east London club, which did not materialise.
Fernandes has enjoyed huge success in business and his many notable achievements include establishing AirAsia as one of the world’s leading airlines.
He is one of a number of parties to have shown an interest in becoming a major shareholder in QPR in the last nine months.
In February, Rangers enlisted the help of Keith Harris to explore the possibility of arranging a takeover or fresh investment.
Harris, chairman of investment brokers Seymour Pierce, is well known inside football for facilitating takeovers and has advised a host of clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, Everton, West Ham, Portsmouth and Leicester.
An Indonesian-based group did show some interest in Rangers in the Spring, but no formal bid was made.
QPR have been widely reported to be up for sale for £100m, although that is mainly based of an off-the-cuff comment by Ecclestone in response to suggestions Mittal was keen to buy him out.
There were some discussions between the pair soon after the end of last season, but they failed to make progress – much to the disappointment of many inside the club who would like Mittal to take control.
Fernandes later emerged as a possible option. It is not yet clear whether he is acting alone or as part of a group.
In March, QPR announced they were in negotiations with a view to the possible sale of the club.
Bhatia responded by issuing a statement of his own, insisting that the Mittals had no intention of relinquishing their stake. He has always maintained the family would look to increase their shareholding in the future.