London: Queens Park Rangers face an anxious wait to discover if their promotion to the English Premier League will be reversed after a four-day hearing started on Tuesday.
West London club QPR were confirmed as the on-field winners of the second-tier Championship following a 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday.
But they face the prospect of a points deduction that could drop them out of the top two automatic promotion places and into the playoffs on charges relating to the signing of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin in 2009.
They concern the alleged existence of an agreement between the club and a third party in respect of Faurlin's economic rights, and the alleged failure by the club to notify the Football Association (FA) of that agreement before the player was registered to play in England in July 2009.
The club has also been charged with allegedly using an unauthorised agent as part of the Faurlin deal.
Meanwhile both the club and chairman Gianni Paladini have been charged with allegedly submitting false information in documents provided to the FA relating to a contract extension signed by Faurlin in October.
QPR and Paladini have denied the charges, which will be put before the FA regulatory commission's four-man panel and a verdict is expected on Friday -- the day before the final round of Championship fixtures.
The charges threaten to re-open old wounds for QPR manager Neil Warnock.
He was manager of the Sheffield United side relegated from the Premier League in 2007 when fellow drop candidates West Ham stayed up after it was revealed Argentina striker Carlos Tevez, now at Manchester City, was the subject of a third party deal similar to the one allegedly involving QPR.
However, on that occasion, West Ham were fined rather than docked points that could have seen them relegated instead of Sheffield United -- much to Warnock's fury.
"We're all guessing, we have to wait until Friday," Warnock said last week. I'm happy with what my barrister (lawyer) has told me.
"I don't fear anything, I was brought in to win promotion and that's what I've done."
The worry for QPR is the 'Tevez affair' was something of a test case and all English clubs since then would be expected to have a clearer understanding of the governing FA's rules in respect of third party ownership.
If QPR, who are due to be presented with the Championship trophy at their Loftus Road ground before a match with Leeds on Saturday, are handed a points deduction then the club are all but certain to appeal.
And that could cause a delay to the start of the playoffs and have a damaging knock-on effect for the pre-season plans of all teams involved.