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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Flashback: The Day The Chairman Threatened Legal Action Against The Fan Magazine

One Year Ago Today...

September 25, 2006 - QPR Official Site - Club Statement
Statement by Gianni Paladini on the recent edition of 'A Kick Up The Rs:'

The publication 'A Kick Up The Rs' has recently published a deeply misleading, inaccurate and scandalous article about myself and Queens Park Rangers FC.
A number of serious allegations have been made in that publication which are not true. The publication failed to contact myself or anyone else at the Club to verify their allegations.
Considering the seriousness of the allegations, I have been reluctantly forced to take legal action. The matter is now in the hands of my solicitors.
I expect a comprehensive retraction and apology from the publication for publishing these falsehoods. If they are not prepared to provide that, the matter will be dealt with by the courts.
I am sorry it must come to this, but in order for me to be able to defend myself from such blatant and hurtful untruths, I have no alternative than to take this action.
I shall make no further comment on this matter until either the apology and retraction has been received or legal proceedings are concluded." Official Site

In response two QPR Fan Groups Issued Statements

QPR1st - September 27th Statement - AKUTR's and The Club - September 27, 2006

"QPR1st supports the right of supporters to express their views in a variety of ways including fanzines and message boards.
We acknowledge that the Club also has the right to challenge what it considers to be unfair or inaccurate comments in fanzines through the official site, the programme, fans forums or by requesting a 'right to reply' within the fanzines themeselves.
Nevertheless fanzines have limited resources with which to defend themselves against legal action and therefore 'threats to sue' can be perceived as an act of intimidation. We would urge the Club to withdraw such threats and to seek to redress what they regard as a wrong through other less confrontational means. The Trust would be happy to act as a mediator between the Club and AKUTRs in the belief that QPR is at its strongest when it is united" QPR1st

LSA SECRETARY'S STATEMENT - September 29, 2006
The LSA offers wholehearted support for Dave Thomas and AKUTR's right to freedom of speech. We deplore the actions of the club in taking legal action which could kill off one of the most respected fanzines in England.
AKUTR's has played a crucial role in keeping our club alive in difficult times and we would be poorer without it.
We agree that a right of reply should be given to the club to answer the points raised in the last issue. We would be happy to play a role in ensuring that these matters are dealt with without recourse to legal action against one of the most respected supporters of our beloved club.
However if the club pursues with legal action against Dave we will offer wholehearted support in any manner we deem fit, including publishing material and raising a financial fighting fund to defend AKUTR's in court.

This was followed by

October 13: QPR OFFICIAL Site - Paladini at the October 12 Fan Forum
".....GP on AKUTR'S: I didn't take this man to court. People think I take people to court because the coffee is too cold. ....The magazine, I never said I would take them to court, I wanted a chance to respond to serious things that were said about me in that magazine, he never had the decency to get in touch with me for a discussion and my side, I'm talking about the journalist here not the man who edits the magazine. If you don't do anything about this, you're guilty. The allegations he made against me are wrong. If they are true then I shouldn't be the chairman. If they are right I'd resign tomorrow.." (QPR Official Site)

On October 26, 2006 on QPR's official site was termed:
"An Apology" from AKUTRs - AKUTRs Statement

The Editor and proprietor of the fanzine 'A Kick Up The R's' today agreed to publish the following retraction and apology to QPR Chairman, Gianni Paladini:
In the September edition of the newsletter 'A Kick Up the R's', we published a series of articles by Cos Atiolis about Mr Paladini, the Chairman of Queen's Park Rangers football club.
In these articles we falsely suggested that Mr Paladini was involved in fraud, corruption, malpractice and dishonesty, and made a number of other serious false, misleading and defamatory statements about him.
We now fully accept that there is no truth whatsoever in these allegations and we are extremely sorry for the distress and embarrassment caused by the articles.
The newsletter containing the articles has been withdrawn from sale and we have offered Mr Paladini a full right of reply to the articles, which will appear in the next edition.
Paladini said: "I am delighted that the fanzine has withdrawn the untrue and unfair allegations it made against me, and that it was possible to resolve this without legal action.
"Although everyone has a right to free speech, and I welcome constructive criticism, I take my professional reputation very seriously and will not stand by whilst I am accused falsely.
"I find these allegations distressing, not just because they damage me, but also because of the distress they cause to my family and to QPR fans.
"I would never want to fall out with any of our fans. The way to move this club forward is to be united.
"Fortunately, AKUTRs has accepted there was no truth to the serious allegations it published and has retracted them. I will be exercising a full right to reply in the December edition, and I hope that is then the end of the matter."
QPR Official Site

[Subsequently writing in AKUTRs, AKUTRs Editor Dave Thomas offered a somewhat different version of how the apology came to be written and published and how Chairman Paladini never offered AKUTRs his demanded response] The December issue of AKUTRs (#200)was published - without any reply from Paladini.
In a piece/editorial in that AKUTRs (AKUTRs #200), entitled "Gianni Paladini v AKUTRs," editor Dave Thomas reported on the process in which the apology/retraction was demanded and discussions/"negotiations" between Thomas and Paladini (and solicitors) was conducted; and the fact that at AKUTRs publication deadline (November 20), no Paladini response had been forthcoming - or in fact any response/communication from Paladini and/or solicitor since the end of October.

However, Paladini ended up never writing that reply. Meeting with the QPR Fan group, QPR1st in early January 2007, QPR1st reported "QPR1st Full QPR1st report on their January 7, 2007 meeting with Chairman Paladini
"[Paladini] was asked about what was happening regarding his right to reply in the fanzine? His reply was that “he wished to thank the editor of the fanzine for his response; that never before had he personally received such an apology; it was an honourable thing; that because the reply in his fanzine was sufficient, he had decided to leave his right to reply, preferring to let sleeping dogs lie”.
He asked if we would put his response in our report, to which we agreed..." QPR1st

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