|"The FIA World Motor Sport Council has recently amended its International Sporting Code to revert to a system that clearly differentiates between national and internationally licensed events. This decision was taken to prevent a proliferation of events being held across continental Europe that
would not be subject to the FIA`s safety regulations.
"All international motor sport events authorised by the FIA must be entered in the International Sporting Calendar and comply with the International Sporting Code including its annexes relating to safety procedures. National events authorised by the relevant national governing bodies are not
required to do so, but need only comply with national regulations which vary from country to country.
"Since 1994, the FIA has permitted its European Union members to allow licence holders from all Member States to participate in national events without including these events on the International Sporting Calendar. This regime was subsequently extended to include Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland. Now other countries from East and Central Europe wish to extend the scheme.
"The unintended consequence of these decisions has been to undermine the FIA`s safety regulations as embodied in the International Sporting Code. If we do not act now, more and more events will be held across the continent of Europe involving competitors from many countries, but without the requirement to maintain the FIA`s safety rules. The World Motor Sport Council has become concerned about these risks and therefore voted to return to the pre-1994 system in which national licence holders are only permitted to compete in national events. This restriction does not apply, however, to competition licence holders who are professional drivers living within the EU, so as to ensure that we fully satisfy the requirements of internal market rules. However, professional drivers are better placed and more knowledgeable than amateur sportsmen when it comes to matters of personal safety.
"Ensuring that events open to competitors from outside a given country appear on the international calendar has two advantages. First, it ensures that minimum internationally agreed safety measures are applied; secondly, it makes it easier for competitors from neighbouring countries to find out about the event and enter it.
"The objections which have been raised are based, we believe, almost entirely on the fear that the new rules will be used to increase fees. This is not the case. We are actively seeking solutions which encourage international competition and put no obstacles, financial or otherwise, in
the way of would-be competitors. As a provisional measure, however, we are permitting in 2003 a category for National Events with Authorised Foreign Participation. Each such event must be entered in the International Sporting Calendar and will be subject to a fee to the national organiser of
EUR150. Competition licence holders, under this provision, will still be able to participate in national events in other EU Countries, provided they have been properly registered.
"For the longer term we have established a working party to examine these issues in detail and to develop proposals for further consideration by the World Motor Sport Council. One of the objectives of this working group is to find ways of safeguarding the interests of amateur competitors without
adding to their costs.
"The FIA has a clear duty to uphold the standards of safety at events of an international character, and it is for this reason we have decided to apply the more traditional approach of requiring entry on the International Sporting Calendar. We anticipate that once competitors fully understand what we are doing and why, they will feel reassured and no longer be worried by these measures which are, of course, in their very best interests."
For more information: Deborah Tee or Tim Bampton at MPA Media.
Telephone: + 44 20 7384 8700 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or