APRIL 4, 2008
What happens next?
The news that the FIA is to convene an Extraordinary General Assembly in order to discuss "the widespread publicity following an apparently illegal invasion of the FIA President™s privacy" may not be as significant a gathering as it appears.
The FIA Statutes are very complicated. Sudden change is very difficult to achieve. An Extraordinary General Assembly must meet within a period of 3 months from the request and it must include a published agenda. Each of the FIA World Councils may add items to the agenda and additions must be sent 35 days before the date fixed for the meeting. No proposals can be added during the meeting itself.
In other words, if Mosley is to face a challenge, that will have to be fully identified a month before the meeting.
This clearly gives time for politicking.
This is all well and good, but there seem to be a growing number of people who believe that each passing day does more damage to the FIA and that the federation cannot afford to wait two months to take action. There are mechanisms by which processes can be speeded up. The FIA Statutes allow for the Senate to take "decisions required by the management of the FIA when circumstances do not permit a meeting of the Committee or of the World Councils, especially in cases of emergency". These would have to be ratified later by the General Assembly. The Senate is thus a key body. This is headed by Michel Boeri, a Monaco lawyer, who has been in charge of the Automobile Club de Monaco since the 1970s. Others on the Senate include the two Deputy Presidents Marco Piccinini (a former sporting director of Ferrari) and Franco Lucchesi, both from Italy. The other members are Henri Krausz, a long time Mosley ally who nowadays represents Mexico, but has previously sat on the World Council as a representative of both Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. There is Peter Meyer, President of Germany's ADAC, HH Tunku Mudzaffar (the President of the Malaysian Automobile Association), Tianshu Shi, representing China, and Edouardo Silva Araya of the Automobile Club of Chile. The other member was the late Jean-Marie Balestre.
The Senate might take the decision to remove Mosley from office based on the terms in Article 27 of the Statutes.
This details how people and clubs can be expelled from the FIA and includes the clause allowing for those "who by words, deeds or writings have inflicted moral injury and loss on the FIA". Mosley might try to defy this but such an action would simply increase the perception that his chief interest in his own survival rather than what is best for the federation. If the Senate does not move down this path, the FIA Committee, made up of the two World Councils, could make a move. The two bodies "may directly impose the sanctions provided for in the International Sporting Code" on licence holders, executive officers or members of ASNs who have contravened the statutes and regulations of the FIA or "who have pursued an objective contrary or opposed to those of the FIA".
There is an argument that Mosley is not an executive as he is an elected official. In most definitions, such as the President of the United States, the president is an executive. In FIA terms the decisions are implemented by what is known as the "administration" but the definition of executive is not crystal clear.
If the President of the FIA is permanently prevented from fulfilling his duties - a vague term - then an Extraordinary General Assembly must be held within four months and a replacement will be elected to complete the term of office. In a period of interregnum the power would be with the Senate.
These are difficult times for the FIA members and there is no doubt much fear about further revelations that could do more damage.
There have been few signs of activity in FIA circles thus far, but clearly much has been going on. The first sign of discontent came this morning when Germany's ADAC announced that it has written to Mosley to ask him to reconsider his position in the wake of the controversy. According to the ADAC, "the role of an FIA president who represents more than 100 million motorists worldwide should not be burdened by such an affair" and asked Mosley to "very carefully reconsider his role within the organisation".
One must consider in all of this that there is a rivalry within the FIA between the sporting clubs and the touring clubs and there is a danger that the sporting elements could lose control, which they have enjoyed for more than 20 years. This may result in some clubs rallying to Mosley in fear of a change of emphasis.
The ADAC is a big automobile club, with a membership of 15m, but the key club in the FIA world is the American Automobile Association with a membership of 50m. If this comes out against Mosley then it is going to be increasingly hard for him to survive.
In the background remains the possibility that if the FIA does not or cannot act to remove Mosley, then it will lose all credibility, and all power.
If that happens the very future of the organisation is at stake.