MAX MOSLEY’S call for unity is set to fall on deaf ears after he won a vital vote of confidence yesterday that will see him remain in his role as FIA president.
Mosley comfortably won the day, claiming 61% of the vote, with 103 of the 169 delegates involved in the secret ballot deciding he should remain in office. But the decision did not sit well with the automobile associations who had previously called on Mosley to resign, which could lead to the FIA becoming fragmented.
Mosley’s successful lobby of the sporting associations behind the scenes clearly worked, alienating the automobile clubs.
Guido van Woerkom, president of the Royal Dutch touring club ANWB, expressed his dissatisfaction with the outcome.
“There is disappointment, especially that he didn’t react to the people who were against him in this vote,” remarked van Woerkom.
“Some sensitivity would have been a far better approach than the hardball he played.”
When asked whether Mosley had lobbied the sporting organisations, van Woerkom added: “Absolutely.
“His basis is those. No doubt about it, it helped the outcome.”
The debate around Mosley surfaced after lurid revelations into his private life were published in the News of the World at the end of March.
The British Sunday tabloid suggested Mosley was involved in an orgy with prostitutes — and that there were Nazi connotations.
Mosley has long refuted any Nazi influence, and at the hearing had barrister Anthony Scrivener, speak on his behalf.
In his findings, Scrivener confirmed there was no Nazi element to the images captured on video by the News of the World.
For van Woerkom, that was not the argument as he said: “The main issue for me is not whether there was a Nazi element, but whether he is credible to represent us in the world of mobility and sport.
“I don’t think if you indulge in that behaviour you are a credible man.”
That sentiment was echoed by the head of the American Automobile Association, Robert Darbelnet, an outspoken critic of Mosley.
Darbelnet, who described Scrivener’s presentation as “an objective view of the situation”, said of Mosley: “I did not find his arguments convincing.
“But what has happened is a very unfortunate outcome, and a very unfortunate day for the FIA, and it was not the right decision — absolutely not.
“His type of behaviour, for an organisation representing hundreds of millions of motorists and the sport too, cannot be condoned.
“It is not the type of behaviour that would be condoned in any organisation I’m familiar with.
“I can’t think of an organisation that would have arrived at the result that was arrived at today.”
It is now more than likely leading automobile organisations such as AAA and Germany’s ADAC will form a breakaway faction, despite Mosley calling for a united front at the end of the meeting.
Edmund King, boss of England’s Automobile Association, who shared a vote with the Royal Automobile Club — although he refused to state how the AA voted — said: “I hope all clubs can unite, rather than be distracted by these events.
“Max said at the end he wanted unity and strength. All the clubs need to get together and work out a strategy for the future.”
Mosley may have played to the sporting clubs, but in doing so he has ignored the masses.
The 24 clubs — including AAA, ADAC and ANWB — who jointly signed a letter last week calling for Mosley to resign, represent 86% of the world’s motorists.
However, those clubs only combined for 13% of the 32% that in the end voted against Mosley — 55 of the 169 in total, with seven abstentions and four invalid.
With a court case pending against the News of the World, as Mosley is suing for breach of privacy and claiming unlimited damages, he refused to comment as he exited the Automobile Club de France.
The venue was used due to the confines of the FIA headquarters, sited next to the ACF on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Speaking on behalf of Mosley, an FIA spokesman said: “Today, the full membership of the FIA, both motoring and motor sport, were given the opportunity to express their views on the future of the FIA president.
“They exercised their democratic right by way of secret ballot and a decisive majority confirmed their confidence in the president and his mandate.
“The view repeated time and time again from the members during the assembly was a categoric rejection of what they felt had been a deliberate attempt to destabilise both him and the FIA.
“The vote was not a comment on the president’s private life, but a confirmation that the decision-making of the FIA must never be manipulated by external forces who may attempt to undermine its independent authority.”
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