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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 16:44 UK

Briatore denies picking QPR team

Flavio Briatore
Briatore is unhappy with the reporting of Sousa's departure

QPR chairman Flavio Briatore has denied any suggestion that he is involved in team selection in the wake of ex-boss Paulo Sousa's Loftus Road exit.

The Italian told the club's website the claim was "incorrect", adding: "Paulo picked the team all the time."

Briatore also said reports that QPR had sacked Sousa were "totally inaccurate".

But after issuing that denial, Briatore went on to say that Sousa's contract had indeed been "terminated" after he "divulged sensitive information".

Briatore told the club's website: "Despite what's been written, we didn't sack Mick Harford, we didn't sack Luigi De Canio and we didn't sack Paulo.

"For the press to say we've sacked all these people is totally inaccurate and our lawyers are dealing with this."

I never once told Paulo, or any other coach for that matter, which team to pick

Flavio Briatore

However Briatore, who is also co-owner of the West London club, did not explain what the difference was between a sacking and a contract termination.

Regarding matters of selection, Briatore explained that while Sousa always picked the team, the 38-year-old's decisions had "disappointed" the board on two occasions.

"When we beat Preston North End before Christmas, Paulo made six changes for the next match and we only drew at Charlton, who were bottom of the league.

"And against Ipswich, he stuck to a 4-5-1 formation when we were at home.

"But I would like to repeat, I never once told Paulo, or any other coach for that matter, which team to pick."

Paulo Sousa
Sousa left QPR last week

Asked whether it was solely his decision to loan Dexter Blackstock to fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest - a move which Sousa has said was made without his knowledge - Briatore would only make reference to a statement issued by Blackstock's agent Eric Walters.

That statement read: "I spoke with Gianni Paladini and he advised me that we needed to clear [the deal] with Paulo Sousa.

"Dexter discussed the situation with Paulo, and he didn't say anything to Dexter about the possibility of him staying with QPR.

"At 4pm on 26 March 2009, Dexter signed the paperwork completing his loan transfer to Nottingham Forest."

Concluding his interview with the website, Briatore confirmed that Sousa's replacement Gareth Ainsworth would be in charge at Loftus Road until the end of the season and added that he hoped the club would enjoy their last three matches.

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