Amit Bhatia has taken over as the chairman of Queen Park Rangers football club (QPR), following the steping down of Tony Fernandes from the post. Fernandes and co-chairman Ruben Gnanalingam are vacating their positions to allow Bhatia to move up from his role as vice-chairman. Fernandes took over at the west London club in 2011 and has been co-chairman with majority shareholder Gnanalingam since 2015.
But his time his term has been controversial and last month QPR were fined £17million as part of a £42 million settlement for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. Fernandes told the club website: "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. I remain a committed shareholder and co-owner and will do what I can to get QPR back to the promised land."
Bhatia has been on the board since his father-in-law Lakshmi Mittal bought a stake in the club in 2007. Bhatia said: "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. 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 (McClaren)'s final squad on August 31 will make us proud - and make our weekends more enjoyable!" Gnanalingam will replace Bhatia as vice-chairman of the west London club.