Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

QPR Outlook Fine despite TV Cloud

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

QPR Outlook Fine despite TV Cloud

Article excerpt


THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE predicts that 24 of its 72 member clubs could go to the wall if the owners of ITV Digital carry out their threat to pull the plug on the struggling channel.

But what about the clubs who are already fighting for survival?

Queens Park Rangers are one of three clubs already in administration, along with Bury and Swindon.

They have been trying to find a buyer to rescue the Second Division side for two years now and have been in administration since last April.

The prospect of a new financial crisis will do little to attract investors especially with the League anxious to see progress being made before the end of this season.

It has written to Rangers reminding them that they must be out of administration or show signs of being well on the way to financial security by 31 May.

The club is confident it will be able to meet that deadline. A [pound]10 million rescue package which would see the current board take control from former chairman Chris Wright is close to being finalised.

And despite the prospect of a massive cut in television revenue QPR say they are actually in a better position to survive than bigger First Division clubs who have spent huge amounts of money on players' salaries as they gamble on a place in the Premier League.

They have spent that money because they get a far larger chunk of the deal with ITV Digital. A First Division club can expect at least [pound]3m a season while QPR will get around [pound]750,000.

They also point to the fact that once out of administration they will have no debts and money in the bank - a far healthier state than those clubs who are struggling but not yet in meltdown.

All that, however, does little to dampen the anger which Rangers chairman Nick Blackburn feels at the ITV Digital crisis. It's made worse by the fact that the stock market value of Carlton and Granada, ITV Digital's parent companies, have risen by more than [pound]1.1billion since 27 February, when speculation that they were trying to renegotiate started to surface.

Those figures dwarf the [pound]178m outstanding on the deal with the League. …

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