JUNE 9, 1997
Germans defeat Max and Bernie
THE FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's ISC company have lost the preliminary case over the televising of the FIA European Truck Racing Cup. The Frankfurt District Court ruled last week that both were in breach of commercial clauses in the Treaty of Rome. The case had been brought by German television company AE TV-Cooperations GmbH of Heidelberg, which televised truck racing before the FIA gave the deal to ISC.
The decision requires the FIA to make no claim on the TV rights to the series and leave it up to the organizers to market their own TV rights. The FIA's reaction to the decision was to cancel the series. Individual events remain on the International Calendar and it is up to the organizers to decide if they should go ahead. The cancellation of the series makes it far less attractive to manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and MAN which were using it to promote their trucks - winning individual races has very little publicity value. The series has, thus far, had just one round this year. The next scheduled event is Paul Ricard on June 18 and it will be interesting to see what happens there.
In a statement the FIA stressed that the Frankfurt decision is an interim judgment with is subject to "a full and substantive hearing and various appeals" and added that "ultimately what is important is the view of the European Commission and the relevant European Court".
The FIA said it was confident that it will win the case. The problems will be discussed at the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sports Council in Paris this week.
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