JANUARY 26, 2001
European Anti-Trust Case to be settled
THE European Union and the FIA today disclosed that the two sides are close to settling the anti-trust investigation against the FIA and the Formula One Administration. Amongst the points of the settlement, Bernie Ecclestone will resign as head of promotions at the FIA, and there will be a complete separation between the FIA and Ecclestone's FOA companies.
European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti announced after meeting today with Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, that very significant progress has been made in the case, which involves issues relating to the management and governance of motorsport in general, as well as the broadcasting and related rights for Formula One motor sport.
Commissioner Monti stated "the new rules, together with the significant number of undertakings offered by the parties and changes to the marketing and broadcasting arrangements, seem to us to amount in principle to a satisfactory solution. Accordingly, I intend to ask my services to prepare an Notice which will be published in a few weeks' time and which will invite third parties to submit their comments to the Commission."
The main elements of the changes agreed by FIA and FOA are:
-- FIA has amended its regulations to strengthen the rights of motor sport organizers, circuit owners and participants, and to make it clear that FIA will act impartially as between all forms of motor sport for which it is the regulator;
-- FIA will no longer have a commercial interest in the success of Formula One and the new rules will remove any obstacle to other motor sports series competing with Formula One;
-- FIA will retain its rights over its championships and the use of the "FIA" name and Trade Marks but has removed from its rules any claim over the broadcasting rights to events that it authorizes and has agreed to waive any claim to broadcasting rights under the relevant clauses in the Formula One agreement (the "Concorde Agreement");
-- FIA has made it clear that its decisions will always be reasoned, and that those decisions may be challenged before national courts;
-- The FOA group of companies has sold its interest in all forms of motor sport including Rallying and will therefore only have an interest in Formula One (Mr. Ecclestone will no longer handle FIAxs promotional affairs and will also reduce his role in FIA in other ways);
-- FOA has agreed to limit the duration of its free-to-air broadcasting contracts (to five years in the case of host broadcasters and three years in other cases) and has removed provisions which penalized broadcasters which wanted to broadcast other forms of open wheeler racing.
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