QPR owner Fernandes feels 'exploited'
- Published: 4/05/2013 at 06:49 PM
- Online news:
LONDON - Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian owner of Queens Park Rangers, says the club's relegation from the Premier League has left him feeling "exploited".
The flamboyant founder of the budget airline AirAsia says he's learned some sobering lessons from his involvement with English professional football.
Fernandes acquired QPR in August 2011 and he estimates that he has ploughed around 50 million pounds ($78 million) into the London club since he took over.
Tony Fernandes watches Queens Park Rangers take on Fulham at Loftus Road in London in December.
He admits that he has occasionally let people take advantage of him, but he has vowed that he will not make the same mistakes again.
"I don't think I will be exploited any more," he said, in comments reported by several British newspapers on Saturday.
"I think I allowed myself to be exploited, but that's my choice. Agents are trying to get the best contracts and there's no two ways about it -- I had to pay premiums.
"I've seen all of the parts that make football quite -- maybe 'immoral' is a strong word, but they would sell their grandmother to do something. It's all part of the football ecosystem."
Fernandes also expressed regret over the club's decision to allow the outspoken veteran midfielder Joey Barton to join the French side Marseille on a season-long loan deal.
"We missed Joey," he said. "We needed a workhorse midfielder and we tried to get (Tottenham Hotspur midfielder) Scott Parker.
"We missed a real leader. We tried to get (Tottenham centre-back) Michael Dawson. To be fair to (former manager) Mark Hughes, he said we needed two centre-halves.
"This has been a tragic season in many ways. It is a Shakespearean play in the making."
Fernandes also revealed that manager Harry Redknapp and the majority of the playing squad would be forced to accept pay cuts in the second-tier Championship next season.
"Do we have relegation clauses? Yes. Do all the players have them? No. But at least 60% do," he said.
Questioned about Redknapp, who is due to stay on in his position, Fernandes said: "Yes. His salary goes down as well.
"We have been made out not to be sensible, [to be] stupid. Guys on TV have torn me apart. We are not stupid."
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency