Chief exec Lee Hoos says club cannot stay in current home in Loftus Road
Queens Park Rangers Chief Executive chief executive Lee Hoos has issued a warning about the club's financial future if it stays in Loftus Road, and confirmed the club's interest in moving to a 'community sports hub' in the Linford Christie Stadium in Wormwood Scrubs.
QPR says in a statement: " At the start of the 2018/19 season we had the third smallest ground in the Championship, only ahead of Brentford – who are building a new stadium – and Rotherham.
"The age and size of our stadium, with little space and severely outdated facilities, makes significant non-matchday use practically impossible, meaning the club loses out on millions of pounds of potential revenue every year.
" Loftus Road doesn’t meet modern ground regulations on seat depth and circulation space. As a result, the matchday experience can be uncomfortable, which seriously limits our ability to grow our fanbase. Many first time visitors to Loftus Road do not return because of the poor stadium facilities. Access for disabled supporters is a particular challenge."
The full statement, titled Why we need to move also discusses a possible move to Linford Christie stadium after a number of alternative local sites provided impossible.
It says: " Two years ago, the idea was put forward of a partnership between QPR and Thames Valley Harriers to create a new community sports hub at the site. This would include a new football stadium for QPR as well as a new athletics and community sport facility next door to it – without encroaching on to the green space of Wormwood Scrubs.
"We want a new stadium that is not just a home for QPR but a hub for the community. We want to bring regeneration and jobs to a disadvantaged part of West London, to reinvigorate community sports facilities, and to encourage more people to enjoy the cherished green open space of Wormwood Scrubs.
"The Linford Christie Stadium is our best, if not last, chance to build a sustainable long term future in the community that is our home. It is also an opportunity to promote physical activity and improve the health and wellbeing of West Londoners by creating an innovative community sports hub with a professional football club at its heart."
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is also looking at the stadium and has asked sports architecture firm Populous to draw up a new masterplan for the site, which could contain a 13,000 capacity entertainment venue, among other things.
A council spokesman said: " Linford Christie Stadium is a vital community asset in an open green space. We want to protect and enhance its use for athletics and recreation for the long-term benefit of residents.
"Due to severe budget pressures, our subsidy for the stadium in its current form is unsustainable. We have asked a masterplan architect to draw up options for the stadium site, which will be presented this year to the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust for their final decision. We continue to talk a number of stakeholders, including QPR, as part of this process."
The Linford Christie Stadium is currently used by a number of other sports teams including the Thames Valley Harriers athletics club Last year Thames Valley Harriers chairman Tim Dye confirmed that the athletics club had been involved in early discussions with QPR and Hammersmith & Fulham council and on their website, the club said the idea of a multi-sports facility "makes sense".
QPR said QPR in the Community Trust have already held over 60 meetings with different residents’ groups, schools and other community organisations to explain the idea and listen to suggestions and concerns.
Chief executive Lee Hoos said: “Fan groups have asked us to set out in more detail the reasons we are looking for a new stadium, which is why we have published this document today. We have to face up to the fact that this club is not financially sustainable in the long term whilst we remain at Loftus Road and we are running out of possible sites near our current home where we could move to.
“The idea of a QPR community stadium — with a new athletics track and community sport facility next door — on the Linford Christie Stadium site represents the only chance of staying in W12. If we get the go-ahead to pursue this option we will consult with fans about how any new stadium would work and, crucially, how we retain the best characteristics of Loftus Road.
"We will do everything we can to highlight to the council that QPR is an important part of this local community."
August 16, 2018