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QPR Wins at Watford to Secure Promotion, Still Faces Probe

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Queens Park Rangers won 2-0 at Watford to secure enough points to win English soccer’s Championship, although the club’s promotion to the Premier League could be derailed by disciplinary action over a player trade.

Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith scored in the final 13 minutes today at Vicarage Road to give QPR, owned by Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, the title with one game remaining in its season.

QPR leads the standings by eight points over second-place Norwich and is nine ahead of third-place Cardiff, with both of those teams having two games left. The top two are promoted automatically, with a playoff determining a third team to go up.

Promotion to the top league is worth about 90 million pounds ($149 million) in television rights and other revenue, accountant Deloitte LLP estimates. The cloud on QPR’s horizon is a disciplinary hearing next week when it faces seven rule-breach charges linked to the signing of Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in 2009. Possible sanctions include a points deduction with a decision due by May 6, the day before the last league game at home against Leeds.

West London-based QPR last played in the Premier League in 1996, since when it’s undergone numerous coaching and ownership changes, financial crises, and a spell in the third tier.

Neil Warnock’s arrival as manager in March last year laid the basis for this season’s success. Inspired by maverick Moroccan forward Taarabt and strengthened by experienced players such as Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and Paddy Kenny, the “Hoops” have lost just five of 45 games this season.

Ecclestone has been in talks about a possible sale of his 62 percent stake. Metals billionaire Lakshmi Mittal’s family owns the bulk of the remaining shares.

Faurlin joined from Argentine club Instituto de Cordoba. QPR denies charges connected with an alleged agreement with a third party over his economic rights. Faurlin, 24, has been a regular in the team and was voted player of the year last season by both fans and teammates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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