LONDON (Reuters) – Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes plans to stick with the club even if they are relegated from the English Premier League this season.
QPR are bottom of the Premier League, seven points adrift of safety with only 12 games to play. New television contracts that kick in next season mean that relegation from the 20-team top tier will be more costly than ever.
However, Fernandes said QPR could follow the example of Newcastle United and West Ham United and bounce back if they were to slip into the Championship (second division).
"Building a football club is not something that will be done in a year and we have an enormous job at QPR to do, not just in terms of player infrastructure, but the academy infrastructure," Fernandes told Reuters in an interview.
"We’re going to build a new academy, we’re looking to build a new stadium," he added.
"Whether we’re in the Championship, whether we’re in the Premier League, we have to do those investments anyway."
Fernandes, chief executive of Malaysia’s Air Asia, became majority shareholder at QPR 18 months ago.
Manager Harry Redknapp spent heavily in the January transfer window, bringing in players including defender Christoper Samba for a reported 12.5 million pounds ($19.1 million) from Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala.
Fernandes, who also owns the Caterham Formula One motor racing team, denied that QPR’s wage bill was dangerously high.
"Our salary wage bill is probably lower than clubs in the top half (of the League)," he said.
"There is a reality that when you buy something and its under-invested, you have to invest in it," he added.
(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Ed Osmond)
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