FIA denies conflict of interest in F1 sale to Liberty Media

FIA denies conflict of interest in F1 sale to Liberty Media
Feb 16, 2017, 10:56 AM

The FIA has denied suggestions that it acted incorrectly by approving the sale of the F1 business to Liberty Media while benefiting from its own 1 percent stake in the business.

British MEP Anneliese Dodds, who has regularly voiced her suspicions about anti-competitive practices in F1, recently put an extra focus on the sale, by successfully calling for approval for an investigation by the European Parliament, although it won't necessarily go ahead.

She wrote: "There is also significant conflict of interest over the recent sale of the sport to Liberty Media, after the regulator received a $79.5million (£63.7m) profit from authorising the sale.

"I have written a number of letters to the European Commission calling for a full investigation and I am grateful that the rest of the European Parliament has added its voice to this call."

The FIA has responded by stressing that it still believes that there was no conflict of interest, distancing itself from the commercial agreements between the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams, and pointing out that it could only withhold permission for the sale if believed that the CRH could not fulfil its obligations it went ahead.

In a statement referencing the sale the FIA said that it "has been made aware of certain declarations and comments, clearly inaccurately informed or made maliciously, relating to this process. In light of this, the FIA wishes to make clear the following once again:

"Firstly, the prize money allocated in the Formula One World Championship is done so in accordance with the bilateral agreements that exist between each team and the Commercial Rights Holder (CRH). The FIA has no knowledge of these agreements.

"Secondly, there is no conflict of interest on the part of the FIA with regard to its approval of the change of control of the CRH which has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council taking into consideration exclusively the terms of the existing agreements between the CRH and the FIA and the best interests of the Championship.

"As per the Agreements made in 2001 for 100 Years, the FIA could only have withheld its consent in the event that the change of control would materially alter the ability of the CRH to fulfil its obligations; it is obvious that the taking of control of the Formula One Group by Liberty does not create such a risk, and nobody has ever suggested a different view in this respect."

In its conclusion the FIA said that it "would naturally be happy to demonstrate the absence of any conflict of interest to any competent authority that may so request.

"Once again, the FIA looks forward to its collaboration with both Liberty and the Formula One Group to create a constructive relationship that will ensure the continued success and the development of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the long term."

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
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