QPR 1st, the Queens Park Rangers Supporters Trust, is to launch a new fundraising scheme that aims to give supporters a stake in the club and help stave off further financial problems.
The recent publication of QPR’s accounts has reinforced the Trust’s concerns regarding the financial health of the club, as it becomes clear that a number of funding problems have still to be addressed.
Trust Chairman David Price recently produced a financial report on the club, which concluded that serious financial issues exist despite the club coming out of administration last year. Now the formal publication of QPR’s accounts to May 2002 backs up the conclusions of the QPR 1st report.
The Trust has been vocal in highlighting its concerns about the club’s finances, but is also keen to offer solutions to QPR’s board.
Explaining the background to the club’s financial problems, David Price said: “QPR’s parent company, Loftus Road plc, took out a £10 million loan secured against the Loftus Road ground, in order to escape the clutches of the administrators. Around £6.5 million of that money was used immediately to pay off creditors, but the accounts indicate that much of the remainder has already gone. The club is still losing money – the accounts report a loss of £3.4 million in the year to May 2002 and indications are that further losses are occurring this year. With loan interest payments of £1 million a year to be met, there is now a huge reliance on the rent money the club currently receives from Fulham.
“We are concerned that unless the club either cuts costs further or obtains new investment, our longer term financial independence is in serious doubt. Indeed, the QPR’s board of Directors state in the accounts that the company does not have the funds to continue operating for the foreseeable future without raising additional capital.”
In response to the problems highlighted by the accounts and David Price’s report, QPR 1st is setting up a fundraising scheme which is intended to raise much needed finance for the club in return for a large batch of currently un-allocated shares in the plc. The raising of this vital finance and the acquisition of shares will be the cue for fan representation on QPR’s board.
Commenting on the way forward, David Price continued: “We’ve already approached the board with our plans for a fundraising initiative and they have been very receptive to our ideas. The purpose of highlighting our current problems is not to criticise the current board – we do appreciate the difficult circumstances they are operating in. However, the club can’t be completely reliant on promotion, cup runs or a rich benefactor to keep us solvent. We have to have a proper, stable base in the community – which is why we have said to the board ‘let us help’.”
Details of the Trust’s plans for raising funds will be published next week.