APRIL 3, 2008

The FIA calls a General Assembly

The FIA is governed by its General Assembly. This is the ultimate decision-making organisation of the federation and is made up of delegates from each of the members clubs. It normally meets once a year to confirm decisions taken by the two World Councils in the course of the year but from time to time there are extraordinary general assemblies if their is a pressing need for a meeting to discuss important FIA issues. The General Assembly elects the FIA President and Vice-Presidents.

The FIA statement announcing an Extraordinary General Assembly says that it was called at the request of FIA President Max Mosley. The statement suggested that this would discuss "the widespread publicity following an apparently illegal invasion of the FIA President's privacy". The release also noted that Mosley is preparing legal proceedings against the newspaper.

An FIA General Assembly is a big risk for Mosley, but he is presumably thinking that he can dominate the meeting, as he has for many years. The delegates tend to be favourably disposed to the incumbent as it is easier that way, and each delegate is aware that he does not want to be seen to be rocking the boat for fear of losing his position as head of a national club or losing his big event.

The danger is that the clubs will get together before the event and decide upon a suitable successor and then oust Mosley with a vote of no confidence. Much will depend on the attitude of a few key players, including Bernie Ecclestone, who has considerable clout in the FIA because of the finance that F1 generates for the federation.

It remains to be seen when the General Assembly will take place. Getting it organised is a complicated business. At the same time it is clear that a quick decision is needed. This is a much bigger issue than just a question of sport for the FIA had many different sides and involvements. Delays will affect he FIA and perhaps result in it losing power and influence, particularly when it comes to dealings with governments. As Bahrain has shown, there are many governments and car manufacturers that do not want to deal with Mosley because of what has happened. If there are long delays there is the danger that FIA initiatives will grind to a halt.

Mosley has shown in recent years there are times when fast action is needed. The urgency of the current sitaution is such that if a fax vote was called for, it would be hard for anyone to argue against it.