QPR risk being refused entry back into the Championship if the club refuse to comply with a huge expected fine for breaching financial fair play rules, Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey has warned.
The London club have vowed to fight any fine, which could be around £40million, but if QPR are relegated from the Premier League their very future could be under threat.
QPR are expected to have made losses of around £60m last season, when they were promoted from the Championship, which would incur a fine of £40m from the Football League.
Harvey insisted the Football League's rules still applied to the club even if they had been promoted, and said it was theoretically possible they could be refused entry back into the second tier if they did not comply with a December 1 deadline to submit accounts or pay any fine.
Asked if exclusion was the 'nuclear option', Harvey, speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, said: "Theoretically that is the position, but I would hope there would be resolution long before that option even had to be considered.
"We are satisfied we still have the ability under our regulations to charge them for a breach of our rules whilst they were in membership.
"The one thing for certain is that most clubs [in the Premier League] will become a Football League club again.
"Now QPR will of course be hoping it does not happen for some considerable number of seasons. But the chances are they will need to return to the Football League fold at some point in the future. Certainly, three of the current 20 clubs that are in the Premier League will be in the Football League next season."
Clubs who were in the Championship last season have until December 1 to submit their accounts for last season, with the Football League announcing any action a month later.
Clubs who breach the rules - and have losses greater than £8m - and are still in the Championship or League One will have a transfer embargo imposed at least for the January window.
Katrien Meire, chief executive of Charlton, said it was vital for the FFP rules that QPR were forced to comply.
She told Press Association Sport: "It's going to be a legal battle, which nobody is looking for. The Premier League together with the Football League should enforce this.
"Everything at UEFA level was enforced, so if this will fail in the English competition then why would the other Championship clubs comply?"
Asked if QPR should be excluded for refusing to comply, she said: "You can ban them but that might be worse from a legal perspective. I think they should deduct money from the parachute payments."
All money from FFP fines will go to charity after the Premier League blocked a move to redistribute it among the rest of the Championship.
Harvey added: "It was the intention that those clubs that didn't breach the regulations would share the fines but that principle did not find favour with the Premier League, which was disappointing because that was what the 24 member clubs wanted, but they agreed that the money would be distributed instead to charity."
In May, QPR chairman Tony Fernandes said the club would fight any fine. He said then: ""Will we fight the fine? What do you think? After all we've been through, it's my middle name - 'Fight It' Fernandes.
"My view has been consistent, that it is very unfair for a club that has been relegated as the wage difference between the Premier League and Championship is impossible. There should be a time period for clubs to rectify their salaries.
"If we were in the Championship in two years with that wage bill it wouldn't be right. I'm in favour of FFP but it is unfair for a club coming down."
QPR recorded losses of £65.4m during the 2012/13 season and are expected to have lost a similar figure last season.