Briatore to learn QPR fate

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The Independent Football

Flavio Briatore's future as QPR owner is expected to be decided at a Football League board meeting tomorrow.

Briatore was recently banned from Formula One for his role in "crashgate" - where he instructed Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash in 2008 - which could deem him unfit to own a football club under league rules.

It is understood the FIA will provide evidence to the Football League over the matter, while the identities of Notts County's owners are also to be discussed.

"We have a board meeting tomorrow and have at least a couple of fit-and-proper person issues which we will address," said Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League.

"They are on the agenda. I would like to come out of the board meeting with settled policies in general terms which we can apply to future cases that need to be addressed.

"I understand what is being said and we will reflect on that as a board."

Mawhinney, speaking at the Leaders In Football summit, also warned clubs of the long-term perils of relying on mega-rich benefactors and expressed his alarm at escalating player wages.

In his seventh year at the head of the world's oldest football league, he also called for the transfer window in England to be scrapped and suggested a maximum wage could be the way forward to safeguard the league's future.

"As a former Government minister I have had exposure to hundreds of businesses," he said.

"Very few of them were debt free because debt is an integral part of running and growing a business. Debt is not the problem in football, unsustainable debt is.

"Lots of clubs are chasing a dream paid for by their owner's wealth. They are defying economic gravity simply because their owners are rich.

"There is nothing wrong with that. Rich men have always been involved in football. But increasingly, being a rich man in football is not enough. Today what is required is to be very rich.

"The pressing question is whether such a system can ever be sustainable. Can a huge dependence on the personal or corporate wealth of individuals outside the game and on television revenue ever be sustainably sound in the long term? In my view these models need reworking sooner rather than later."

With regard to rising players' salaries Mawhinney added: "In 2007/08 in the Championship, research from Deloitte shows that clubs spent an average of 87% of revenue on players' wages. Is there any business in the world where such a percentage would be sustainable?

"We have been involved in a long debate on the controversial subject of whether control of squad wages should be exercised centrally.

"My sense is that while League One and Two clubs would welcome this, Championship clubs are more divided and still to be persuaded.

"Some new element of cost control does seem to be needed - though it should be neither suffocating nor a straightjacket."

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