League await response from Briatore

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The Independent Online

Flavio Briatore's position as QPR co-owner remains in doubt following today's meeting of the Football League.

Briatore's role has been called into question following his banning from Formula One in the wake of the 'Crashgate' scandal.

The League today discussed its fit and proper persons test, which Briatore appears to contravene having been banned "from involvement in the administration of a sport by a sports governing body or such other similar forms of disqualification".

In a statement, the League revealed they will await a response from the Italian millionaire before deciding his fate.

Renault chief Briatore was thrown out of F1 after he was found to have instructed his driver, Nelson Piquet Jnr, to crash deliberately at last year's Singapore Grand Prix to aid the cause of team-mate Fernando Alonso.

He officially took over at Rangers in November 2007 amid bold claims of a swift return to the Premier League, but the club currently lie 13th in the Championship under Jim Magilton - the seventh manager of Briatore's reign.

Just yesterday Rangers, with billionaire backers Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal, were confirmed as the country's wealthiest club in the latest rich list, but investment on players has remained relatively modest.

Ecclestone and Mittal could buy out majority shareholder Briatore should he be removed, but it is as yet unclear whether they will do so.

The League's statement read: "The Board conducted a comprehensive review of the situation, including the receipt of advice from leading counsel.

"After considering all the information presently available to it and in the interest of due process, the Board will seek responses from Mr Briatore before commenting further."

The League, who are also looking into ownership issues at Notts County and Leeds, will now force clubs to disclose fully the identity of their owners.

"As of today, and having taken advice from legal counsel in regard to existing League regulations, it was unanimously agreed that it will be the policy of the Board to insist that it is informed, with supporting evidence provided, of the ultimate beneficial owners of all Football League clubs," said the statement.

League Two County are still sweating over whether Middle East consortium Munto Finance, who brought in ex-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson as director of football, will be ruled fit and proper.

"We are very grateful to Notts County for providing us with further information in regard to its ownership structure," continued the statement.

"Meetings to clarify a few outstanding issues will occur during the next few days, with a view to concluding matters in the near future."

The League has also written to Leeds seeking further clarification after question marks were raised over their ownership in a recent report.

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