|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.7, 22.2.01, p7|
MOTOR racing's top official wants clearer 'rules of the game' to head off legal wrangles with EU competition watchdogs threatening action against the sports world - but he admits the challenge is a tough one.
Speaking ahead of a two-day conference on the issue in Brussels, Max Mosley said distinctions must be made between commercial organisations that exist solely for profit and federations that oversee sports and look after its participants.
"The idea that you can apply the same rules of corporate governance to sport is simplistic," said Mosley, president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). "Sports federations need to be hierarchical. For example, you need a single world championship, otherwise it would be aggravating for the supporters."
But he says this essential feature is bringing sports federations under the critical gaze of competition watchdogs.
"It is difficult to see how you can reconcile the law with the need to have a hierarchical or monopolistic structure," he added.
Mosley's FIA has just ended a protracted row with the European Commission over its controversial relationship with Bernie Ecclestone, the promoter of Formula One. In the first key EU case highlighting increasing tensions between competition authorities and sport, the Commission argued that FIA should not have an interest in the day-to-day financial success of Formula One.
Under a preliminary deal signed with the Commission last month, Ecclestone's company will pay the FIA a one-off fee of € 245 million for permanent broadcasting rights and has also agreed to limit its own contracts to five years and remove clauses penalising broadcasters for showing other racing events.
"If you separate the money from the sport so that whoever has a commercial interest in the sport does not run it, then most of the problems go away," said Mosley.
But he admitted it would be a tougher job to find a solution suiting all sports. "It also gets more complicated when there are issues such as the mobility of labour," he said.
Mosley's comments come as tempers continue to fray over a proposed new soccer transfer system. European Commission officials thought they had scored a compromise with the sport's governing bodies last week, but players' union FIFPRO said the agreement limiting players' freedom to switch clubs amounted to an own goal.
The game's richest league, the English Premiership, has accused FIFPRO of sabotaging the talks.
Motor racing's top official wants clearer 'rules of the game' to head off legal wrangles with EU competition watchdogs threatening action against the sports world - but he admits the challenge is a tough one.
|Subject Categories||Culture, Education and Research, Internal Markets|