The Football Association hearing which could yet decide whether QPR play Barclays Premier League football next season finally got under way at Wembley today, but news on a potential outcome is not expected until Friday.
Neil Warnock's side have won the npower Championship, but their place among the elite remains in the balance as they face a possible points deduction over seven charges relating to the registration of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in 2009.
The verdict from an Independent Regulatory Commission is scheduled just a day before the final round of Championship fixtures, meaning any appeal could possibly delay the play-offs.
Rangers and chairman Gianni Paladini deny the charges and were represented today by Ian Mill QC, who acted for Sheffield United in the Carlos Tevez affair which saw the rules on third-party ownership clarified.
The charges facing QPR concern the alleged existence of an agreement between the club and a third party in respect of Faurlin's economic rights, and the alleged failure by the club to notify the FA of that agreement before the player was registered to play in England in July 2009.
The club have also been charged with allegedly using or seeking to pay an unauthorised agent as part of the Faurlin deal, while both the club and Paladini have further been charged with allegedly submitting false information in documents provided to the FA relating to a contract extension signed by Faurlin in October.
Sections of the media last week claimed QPR could be hit with a 15-point deduction, which would condemn them to a place in the play-offs, although the FA were swift to distance themselves from those reports.
And the Football League declined to comment on reports that they have warned teams in the play-offs that the competition may be delayed pending the outcome of the disciplinary case.
Rangers are five points clear of promoted Norwich and nine ahead of third-placed Cardiff with one game remaining, meaning there is room for a points deduction which would not ultimately affect the play-offs.
Former Football Association chief executive Mark Palios feels a points deduction is inevitable.
Palios told BBC Radio Four: "There is a lot of precedent around playing an ineligible player and that ranges from the clerical errors around the transfer window, when they get small points deductions, to more serious situations.
"I think following the Tevez affair it is necessary for a statement to be made. This is more serious than a clerical error, so deserves a points deduction almost certainly.
"The second charge with regard to illegal payment to agents, I think there is a precedent when Luton got 10 points deducted for doing that.
"Interestingly, the FA said they tried and didn't say they actually did make the payments to unregistered agents."
Tevez's goals helped West Ham stay in the Premier League in 2007, before he left for Manchester United.
However, Sheffield United, then managed by Warnock, lodged a legal challenge after they were relegated and details of Tevez's complicated third-party ownership came to light.
West Ham were not docked any points and instead fined £5.5million and ordered to pay the Blades, who last week were relegated to League One, £20million in compensation.Reuse content