QPR could start next season in the Barclays Premier League with a points deduction if they are found guilty of the FA charges facing them over the Alejandro Faurlin case, according to a sports lawyer.
A hearing into seven breaches of FA rules relating to the signing of the Argentinian midfielder in 2009 began at Wembley on Tuesday with a decision expected on Friday. Reports last week claimed the FA could impose an immediate 15-point penalty which would see Rangers denied automatic promotion and dumped into the play-offs.
The club, who deny the charges, would likely appeal such a decision meaning the play-offs may have to be delayed but sports lawyer Andrew Nixon says Rangers could still be promoted but begin next season on minus points, saying: "If the club are found guilty any punishment of a fine or a points deduction depends on the level of guilt."
"It depends whether there has been an intent to breach the rules, or a flagrant disregard of the rules. Today and tomorrow hold the key in terms of the cross examination of the club officials involved who will be taking to the stand.
"One option will be to deduct points next season, and that could be the easiest option, certainly with regard to managing the play-offs. Therefore it could be that they start next season with a negative three-point balance."
Nixon also expects other clubs involved in the promotion race to consider legal action should Rangers escape a points deduction.
"Should QPR not be deducted points then other clubs will obviously wish to consider their position," he added.
Rangers play their final match of the season against Leeds on Saturday, when under normal circumstances they would be presented with the npower Championship trophy.