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The European Commission apologizes

MAX Mosley, the President of the international automobile federation (FIA) was delighted last week when the European╩Commission issued a statement expressing regrets at hostile public statements and leaks made about the FIA by the outgoing Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert and members of his staff. The FIA initiated legal action against the Commission in May last year alleging that comments made by Van Miert had damaged its reputation around the world and accused him of prejudging the outcome of the investigation into how Grand Prix racing was organized. The case was due to go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

In the statement the Commission confirmed that "no final decision of any kind has been adopted in this case, which is still being considered"..

The apology said that the Commission would see to it that the leaking of such documents does not happen again. The statement is a major victory for Mosley in the obscure world of European Union politics and an embarrassing defeat for Van╩Miert as he leaves office. Much of the FIA's problem with the EU seems to have been caused because of a personal antipathy between the two men. Mosley has now won that battle.

The FIA is hoping that a much better relationship can be built with his successor Mario Monti and that the outstanding competition issues raised by the EU can be resolved as quickly as possible so that Ecclestone can push ahead with his plan to float Formula One Holdings.

In the meantime the reorganization of the FOH empire continues with Ecclestone about to introduce a new system of official suppliers paying to be involved in the sport. This is expected to range from high technology companies involved in timing, television and so on to wine and beer supplies for the F1 paddock club. We believe that FOH is also keen to buy Paddy╩McNally's Allsport Management, which looks after all F1 hospitality and trackside signage so as to bring the whole operation under the FOH banner. There are also likely to be moves to buy merchandising operations so that everything can be consolidated in one company.

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