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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Over the Moon at Loftus Road
BBC Sport Online explains how the Moonies religious cult would be more than just money to Queens Park Rangers.

It seems that Queens Park Rangers may have had their prayers answered - quite literally.

The Division Two side have had a tough time over the past few months, tumbling down a league and going into administration with debts of 11m.

But the path to enlightenment may have been revealed in the form of the Unification Church, otherwise known as the Moonies.

QPR spokesman Mike Hartwell has admitted that the religious movement has shown an interest in buying the club.

A Moonie soccer champion will still be kicking the ball, even if his leg is broken
Reverend Sun Myung Moon, 1979
Involvement with the Unification Church, famous for their mass wedding ceremonies, may be worrying to some at Loftus Road.

But it would mean belonging to a huge financial empire.

The Moonies are estimated to have over $10bn in business assets, including an American daily newspaper, the University of Bridgeport and a major publishing company.

The church also owns a number of other clubs across the world, including teams in Brazil and Korea.

Clearly QPR might never have to worry about money again if the cult's leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon was at the helm, but many fans say that it is about more than just finance.

Loyal Supporters Association secretary Joe English is cynical about their intentions.

"People think that if someone comes in with a big fat cheque book, then QPR will get into bed with anyone, but that's not the case," said English.

"I think it's dangerous getting involved with those people. What's their motive?"

  Moonies' business assets
The Washington Times
Paragon Publishers in New York
The University of Bridgeport
The Christian Bernard jewellery chain
Happy World toy and clothing outlets
Panda Motors in China
Certainly, the Moonies may have some hard beliefs for the Loftus Road faithful to swallow, claiming that Reverend Moon is effectively the Messiah.

According to Unification theory, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden before they could produce the "good family" and Christ was murdered before he, too, could marry and procreate.

Hence, Moon has stated that he and his wife are the first "true parents" - something that many fans might not want to digest with their halftime pie.

"You don't want religion, even subtly pushed down your throat at a football match. You go there to get away from things like that," said English.

"I mean, what's going to happen? Is swearing going to be banned at the training ground?"

AP Photos: A Moonies mass wedding
Mass weddings could become a regular event at Loftus Road
Certainly, the Moonies might try to instil the players with a sense of divine purpose.

As long ago as 1979, the spiritual leader Moon said: "A Moonie soccer champion will still be kicking the ball, even if his leg is broken."

Watching a team play with broken limbs may be an uncomfortable experience for QPR fans, but a name-change would be more than they could bear.

Last year, the Unification Church set up a new professional team in Brazil called "New Hope".

It remains to be seen whether they intend to inspire the same brand loyalty with QPR, perhaps renaming them "New Hoops".

But fans, who so vociferously opposed a merger with Wimbledon a few months ago, are unlikely to want any tampering of that kind.

It seems that the Moonies might have met their match against the 'religion' of English football

See also:

20 Sep 01 |  QPR
Moonies make QPR bid
12 Sep 01 |  QPR
New QPR bidder
14 Sep 01 |  QPR
Melzack's hopes grow
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