SEPTEMBER 22, 1997
FLAVIO BRIATORE has told the staff of Benetton Formula that he is leaving the team in the near future. His replacement as team director will be Prodrive's David Richards, although we understand from sources in Italy that Richards will not have any shareholding in the team and is being employed on a purely contractual basis. The deal may include the promise of shares in the business if results are good in the years ahead. Benetton does not want to lose control of its team and British American Tobacco, which might have supported Richards in a takeover of the team, wants to have a majority shareholding in whichever team it is involved with in the future.
Richards will look after the technical management and organization of the Enstone operation, while the Benetton Family - notably Alessandro and Rocco Benetton - will take over the marketing side of the business. Briatore is rumored to be going off to run a new European Football League which Bernie Ecclestone is said to be planning to televise. According to the rumors this will involve the top clubs from different European countries meeting in a series of events which will be shown on pay-per-view television, using Ecclestone's digital TV techniques, which have been pioneered in F1.
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