Briatore case to be heard on November 24

Flavio Briatore's complaint against the FIA will be heard in the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris on November 24. The Italian is arguing that the decisions of the FIA World Motor Sport Council did not have the right to punish him as it did and that procedures were not properly followed. He is not, it seems, arguing that he is innocent. The problem he faces is that it is already established in Europe that sports organisations have a right to organise themselves through appropriate associative structures and that, "with due regard for national and Community legislation and on the basis of a democratic and transparent method of operation" they can apply rules that suit their objectives. The FIA will no doubt argue that Briatore was given the opportunity to defend himself within its structures and chose not to do so, his lawyer writing to the FIA saying that it did not have jurisdiction over him because he was not a licence-holder. This was not smart. He also failed to lodge an appeal after the decision was taken - he had seven days in which to do that - and so he cannot argue that he has tried to get justice from the FIA. Complaining about the result after refusing to be involved in the process would seem to put him in a very weak position. It obviously does not help his case that Renault, his former employer, and various others have all admitted what took place so it is hard to argue that he is innocent.

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