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Premier League

Fernandes targeting QPR profit through 'proper business sense'


In the era of Roman Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour and a collapsing economy, football would seem more than ever to be the place to make a small fortune, provided you start with a big one, but the new owner of QPR disagrees.

Having turned around a failing airline in the wake of 9/11, taking advantage of cheap labour and airline rental costs, Tony Fernandes knows a fiscal crisis can be an opportunity as well as a concern and he believes his timing is perfect. "It is always good to come in in a recession [and] I believe we are going to have that double-dip," he said. "That cleanses out the craziness sometimes.

"Football needs to change. The real value of players has become completely inflated. There are clubs out there who are spending money that if they were in a real business they could not afford. That inflates it for everybody.

"For the sake of football, proper business sense has to be made. If you look at the Premier League, this is a good time to [buy a club]. There is a bit more sensibility coming in."

The Air Asia owner has seen a precedent, in Formula One, in which he runs Lotus. "We have a resource agreement [in F1] and people are now controlling their spending," he said.

The Malaysian, speaking in an interview in fcbusiness magazine, insisted QPR would have to make a profit. "This is not a black hole of Calcutta or a trophy asset," he said. "This has to be run as a business. The first step is to avoid relegation, then we need to sort out the ticket prices [Fernandes inherited some of the highest in the game following pre-season increases by the previous owners], and get reconnected with the fans. As we move up the Premier League, there is more money through TV revenue, but it will be very important to build a fan base."

* Chelsea fans who hold shares in Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) held their first major organisational meeting last night to discuss the club's proposal to buy back the freehold of Stamford Bridge from CPO. Fans' groups believe that shares in CPO can still be bought and are urging supporters to sign up before the vote over the issue on 27 October. The club published a detailed account online yesterday as to why they do not believe Stamford Bridge can be expanded.