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Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Lotto cash will generate success on and off pitch"..."The Inspire project will benefit most from the new deal..."

Football League's League Leader - Lotto cash will generate success on and off pitch

QPR’s Community team have hit a Lotto-style jackpot thanks to the club’s new sponsorship deal.
The Hoops have secured a £20m kit contract from the Italian sportswear firm over the next five years.
Part of the agreement will ensure a substantial investment is made towards Rangers’ Community Scheme.
The club will now have state of-the-art Lotto equipment for the projects they run throughout west London.
Lotto Sport Italia president Andrea Tomat made the announcement at Loftus Road alongside QPR Holdings Limited chairman Flavio Briatore and vice-chairman Amit Bhatia.
Community Manager Andy Evans said: “This is very exciting. It will give us the
opportunity to further enhance our scheme and benefit children in our area.
“Funding has been difficult for us in the past, but it is fantastic to have improved facilities and equipment thanks to the new Lotto sponsorship package.
“Our aim at QPR is to reach out to people and help them to a better way of life. This investment certainly helps.”
The Inspire project will benefit most from the new deal. The club have been encouraging school children to improve their academic work by offering the Inspire incentive of free match tickets.
Kids get coaching before lessons begin, and gain a point for every maths, English and science lesson they attend. Top scorers will be welcomed on to the pitch at Loftus Road before the Charlton game in April. They will also receive free Lotto gear.
Evans added: “There has been a great increase in attendances since we introduced the Inspire project and the children are more enthusiastic about school than ever before.”
Briatore and Formula 1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone have raised the profile of QPR since they became jointowners last November.
[Photo: LOT OF FUN: QPR owner Briatore with Lotto’s Andrea Tomat (left) and Amit Bhatia ] Football League League Leader

Ealing Gazette/Yann Tear - We won't destroy things that make Rs special

THE NEW owners of QPR have pledged to safeguard the identity of the club - even though they want to transform it into a club of Premier League standing.

Fans will be eager for reassurances that the potentially exciting times ahead for their club and the understandable ambitions of the men who saved the club from debt, do not mean a gradual erosion of everything they value about life at Loftus Road.

That includes the club's name, location and even the famous blue and white hooped shirts - all aspects of the club which are non-negotiable in the eyes of even the most casual of supporters.

Both Flavio Briatore and Amit Bhatia - respectively chairman and vice-chairman of QPR Holdings - claim supporters had nothing to fear.

"The most important thing for us is that we maintain what is quintessentially QPR," said Bhatia on the day the club announced an unprecedented five-year kit sponsorship deal worth £20m with sportswear manufacturers Lotto Sport Italia.

"We want to keep the club's identity intact and the fans have nothing at all to be worried about. They should be excited like we are.

"I most definitely hope the Rangers of the future is one the fans would recognise."

Bhatia, the son-in-law of billionaire steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, whose almost limitless resources led to Rangers being dubbed 'the richest club in the world' added: "What attracted us to

QPR is everything about it's identity and I don't see any benefit in trying to change it. There's a history behind this club and why damage that?

"When the stadium becomes a concern, we will address it but it's really not a concern now. We love the area, I love the stadium.

"We don't want to move and if we have to move in the future, we'd want it to be in the vicinity." [25a0] Cont page 63

Briatore said: "We want to stay in this area. This is very important. For respect to the fans. We want to be 15 minutes from London. This is the big plus of QPR.

"We don't know where the club is going yet. We are just trying to go step by step. Our goal now is just to stay in the Championship. I'm sure next year we will try to improve.

"We want to consolidate the club and create a good base in the sports side and in the marketing and commercial side."

Briatore this week gave more insight into his vision for Rangers and why he opted for a club in a lower rather than top division.

"Everybody asks me 'Why did you buy QPR?' I say it's because you want to start from the bottom and create a new club," he said.

"This is much more more exciting. This is a good adventure, starting at the bottom to build up a good football club."

"QPR was a good deal," he added, saying he was a fan of English football because it was "not an excuse to fight" as it often is in his native Italy and was enjoyed by children and families.

"It's a club in the centre of London. The location of the stadium is the best location.

"QPR have a nice story behind them and it's a club with a lot of potential.

"We are a bunch of friends together who want to do something in football and we want to start from this kind of division."

Briatore refused to be drawn on type of player he wants at the club or have their eyes on and agreed with Bhatia's assessment that: "We're very happy with what we have now."

"Gigi has done a fantastic job in the last three months," the Italian said. "The club is alive. We play good football and the fans love it. We play some of the best football in this league and this is recognised by everybody."

Sport is complicated, with luck involved, Briatore said.

"Nothing is guaranteed, but we will try to do the best as possible.

"We will not throw away money. We are talking about QPR, we're not talking about Chelsea. It's completely wrong to compare the clubs. We want to do it our way.

"Whenever somebody arrives in a new business, people think this is the new blood to suck, but there is nothing to suck here."

Rangers' deal with Lotto looks like it may be followed by shirt deals and other sponsorship tie-ups. Kingfisher - the Indian lager brand - is one expected soon, although Briatore denies it for now.

The cash will help lay the foundations for promotion next season and may even be used to re-establish a youth academy.

The club lost its set-up a few years ago and it would cost at least £1m to set up the facilities and coaching staff for such a project. But talks are apparently in progress.

"The aim is to bring this club back to the heights of the past and even beyond that," said Lotto president Andrea Tomat.

"It's an important investment for our company, but we know the plans for the club are to go to the highest possible levels and I believe the strengths of the people involved will certainly provide that." Ealing Gazette

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