Indian origin British businessman Amit Bhatia has been announced the new chairman of English football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) that currently plays in the Championship, the second division of English football.
The announcement comes with the current co-chairmen Tony Fernandes and Ruben Gnanalingam deciding to vacate the position to enable the appointment of Amit Bhatia who first bought stakes in the club in 2007.
Bhatia, who previously served as vice-chairman of the club, will work closely with the management team led by CEO Lee Hoos. Malaysian-origin businessman Ruben Emir Gnanalingam will replace Amit Bhatia as vice-chairman and remain chairman of the Trust.
“I’m excited to be stepping into the role as chairman of QPR, and have accepted this position fully aware of the responsibilities and pressures that come with this appointment,” said Bhatia.
“As well as being involved with the management of the club over the past decade, I have always been a loyal fan and a passionate supporter. In returning to the club as chairman this season, I hope to draw on the experiences of the past 10 years to help Steve, Lee, Les [Ferdinand] and the entire QPR family further the progress we have made under Tony and Ruben’s leadership.
“Under my watch, I will ensure that we make decisions that are in the best long-term interests of QPR, and which bring stability and sustainability to the club. While we would like to be more active in the transfer market it’s important we adhere to the profitability and sustainability rules moving forward.
“We are pursuing a more careful and considered strategy and our squad is now made up of young and hungry players, filled with passion and commitment. I am hopeful that we can make more signings before the end of the loan window and that Steve’s final squad on August 31st will make us proud – and make our weekends more enjoyable!
“I’m excited for the future and I hope you are, too. See you at Loftus Road soon – onwards and upwards!”
Fernandes said, “It’s a good time for a change as the club is now in a stable position and this will give the new chairman a good foundation to build upon. It’s time for the club to have a chairman who is based in London. It was important for me to step down at a time where we have solved many issues such as FFP, making the club sustainable, building a strong academy and having a strong backroom team.
“Today we secured the signing of Angel Rangel and all the hard work has been done on identifying and securing more players on loan. Rangers fans will understand the sensible way we are running this club now. We remain ambitious. We now have a decent squad to push on and a good manager (Steve McClaren) who likes to make players better. I remain a committed shareholder and co-owner and will do what I can to get QPR back to the promised land.
“Like myself and Ruben, Amit cares passionately about QPR and I am sure the supporters will join me in welcoming him to the role as chairman.”
Bhatia will work with Lee Hoos as the London club looks to rebuild following a £17 million ($21.5 mn) financial settlement over breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations caused by over-spending. As part of the agreed sanctions set out by the English Football League (EFL), QPR will face a transfer embargo in the transfer window of January 2019.