Football: QPRs' Tony Fernandes rebukes Harry Redknapp and Adel Taarabt

LONDON (REUTERS) - Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes has apologised to supporters and rebuked the Premier League club's manager Harry Redknapp and striker Adel Taarabt for their public spat over the player's fitness.

In a statement on the club's website (www.qpr.co.uk), Fernandes called a halt to a row that has escalated since Sunday.

"We regret these issues being played out in public and both Harry Redknapp and Adel Taarabt have been notified of our disappointment regarding their handling of the situation. I have spoken to them both personally," he said.

"On behalf of the club, I would like to apologise to the QPR supporters for the embarrassment this has caused and confirm that the issue has been dealt with internally," he added. "The club's entire focus is now on the Aston Villa fixture next Monday and hopefully after a tough few days we can turn a negative into a positive and build on Sunday's improved display," added the Malaysian entrepreneur.

Redknapp had called former Morocco international Taarabt "about three stone overweight" and unfit after failing to select him for the 3-2 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday.

The player hit back at his boss, showing off his physique in the Daily Mail newspaper and claiming the manager did not watch the team training.

Redknapp then replied by branding him "the worst professional I have ever come across".

Taarabt has not started a game for QPR since August.

The promoted side are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League on four points from eight games, with Redknapp's future increasingly called into question.