The open letter from Amit Bhatia to the fans was in itself surprising but very welcome. The tone plus the plain language used was also interesting and although it only addressed one contentious issue, it did come across to me as positive, conciliatory and a major step in the right direction. We can only wait and see if this continues in the future and the Board becomes more sensitive to emotive issues. A short Club statement followed on to the Official Website and also that morning, an article by David Hytner and Stuart James in ‘The Guardian’ referred to a possible Boardroom showdown
An Open Letter From Amit Bhatia
In recent days and weeks, I have had the chance to interact and speak with many of you – at home, in and around our stadium and also at our away fixtures.
Many of you have expressed excitement at the current and future prospects of the Club. Many of you feel the Club is on the right, forward moving track. Many of you have greeted us warmly and welcomed us into the QPR family. Firstly, allow me to thank you for all your support.
In much of the conversations we have had, and encouragement that you have given me, some of you have also expressed your unhappiness at the increase in ticket prices for category A matches. It is something that we have listened to intently as a Board and as shareholders – we have discussed this issue seriously and considered it deeply.
We live in tough economic times and many of you don’t need the added burden of higher ticket prices at select fixtures. Your despair was warranted and justified. So, please be assured that with immediate effect and until the end of the season, we will have NO category A or B fixtures and tickets for all home fixtures at Loftus Road will be category C.
We appreciate that when you did express yourselves, the protests were done silently and peacefully, through letters and conversations. Point made and point taken!
Let’s now get back to what’s truly important and dedicate our energies to supporting the team on a matchday. Starting with the visit of Birmingham City to W12 on Tuesday night, let’s sing loud and proud and be the formidable 12th man that we all know can make such a difference, especially at Loftus Road.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and thanks for the kind words and support that many of you have given us.
We stand corrected on the ticket price increases.
Come on you R’s – onwards and upwards….
The Club can confirm that all matchday prices for the remainder of the season at Loftus Road will be category C. The Board has taken into account the concerns of our supporters in the current economic climate, and as a result, there will be no category A or B fixtures for the remainder of the 2008/09 campaign. We thank you once again for your continued support of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
The Board of Directors
QPR Owners Head For Showdown As Ticket Price Cut Fans The Flames.
Queens Park Rangers were last night set for a power struggle which could re-shape the club after the Vice-Chairman, Amit Bhatia, went public with a promise to reduce ticket prices but in doing so appeared to undermine the authority of the Chairman, Flavio Briatore. Supporters reacted with delight to an open letter from Bhatia – the son-in-law of and front man for Lakshmi Mittal, the world’s fourth richest man, who took a 20% stake in the club at the end of last year – saying that the ¬£50 and ¬£40 category A and B tickets for matches at Loftus Road would be scrapped with immediate effect. Bhatia has styled himself as a populist with QPR fans.
But Briatore, who with his fellow Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone has control of QPR, is believed to be furious at Bhatia’s declaration. He will seek urgent talks to clear the air and the collateral damage could include the Sporting Director, Gianni Paladini, who is Briatore’s prime contact at the club. Paladini was fearful last night that he might lose his job. The Manager, Iain Dowie, is already under pressure from Briatore, who is demanding that the club are promoted to the Premier League this season. There have also been suggestions that the Mittals might seek to buy out Briatore and assume full control of the club.
Bhatia and Mittal have been infected by the football bug and they are also conscious of what Bhatia called the “tough economic times”. “Many of you (the fans) don’t need the added burden of higher ticket prices at select fixtures,” he said, “Your despair was warranted and justified. So please be assured that with immediate effect and until the end of the season, we will have no category A or B fixtures and tickets for all home fixtures at Loftus Road will be category C. We stand corrected on the ticket price increases.”
David Hytner and Stuart James