Max Mosley has won a vote of confidence to remain FIA president in a decision that sees the Mosley overcome a sex scandal and also threatens to divide motor racing's governing body.
|Max Mosley leaves the F.I.A headquarters |
after keeping his job [GALLO/GETTY]
Soon after Mosley was given permission to continue as president through October 2009, when his fourth term ends, the German motoring federation broke off its cooperation with the FIA and the Dutch body criticised smaller clubs for letting monetary issues influence their vote.
The 68-year-old Englishman won a secret ballot 103-55, with seven abstentions and four invalid votes, at the specially convened assembly in Paris.
The FIA said Mosley would not comment until his lawsuit against British tabloid News of the World was settled.
Dutch federation member Guido van Woerkom said Mosley had promised to avoid the public spotlight in the future.
Van Woerkom said most of Mosley's support came from smaller clubs, which held equal sway in terms of voting power to the national federations, because of the money they received after FIA last year gave Formula One team McLaren a $100 million fine for possessing sensitive documents belonging to rival Ferrari.
The FIA and its members received $60 million of that sum.
''(It is) difficult to say, but there is a lot of money going around, and if you get a small piece of that bread it can be very nice to eat,'' Van Woerkom said.
"Corrupt is not the way (to say it). But when you look at the McLaren fine, that is a lot of money, and when you get something from that, you are more or less in favour of the people giving you that bread.''
The German motoring federation ADAC, which is Europe's largest automobile organisation, said it has frozen all its activities with FIA.
That decision could affect the country's possibilities of holding the German Grand Prix, a FIA-sanctioned F1 event.
"ADAC will stay with its decision as long as Max Mosley holds the top FIA office of president,'' it said in a statement.
The German, American, Japanese, French, Australian and Spanish auto federations all voted against Mosley, while federations from Finland, Canada and Sweden were among 24 club members that had publicly come out against Mosley in the buildup.
American Automobile Association president Robert Darbelnet did not rule out the possibility of forming a separate body to guard the interests of motorists worldwide.
"We don't think this type of behavior is appropriate for an organisation that represents hundreds of million of motorists,'' Darbelnet said.
"I can't think of an organisation that would arrive at a result that was arrived at here today.''
Mosley digs in
Mosley, who has been president since 1994, called the vote after refusing to resign when the News of the World said he had engaged in Nazi-themed sex acts with prostitutes.
A video showed Mosley arriving at a London apartment and then engaging in various sex acts with several women, at least one in a prisoner's uniform, while also speaking German.
Mosley, who is suing the tabloid in British and French courts, admits to hiring the five prostitutes but denies there were any Nazi connotations.
His claim was supported by Anthony Scrivener, a lawyer who was hired by the FIA to independently investigate the Nazi links. He told the assembly there was no proof of such connotations.
Going to the vote
Delegates said Mosley gave a strong speech during the meeting, laying out his reasons for wanting to stay on.
With the presentations concluded, each of the 169 members in attendance dropped their sealed vote into the ballot box.
Lawyers for the FIA, accompanied by four members chosen during the meeting to act as independent scrutinizers, retired to count the vote.
Nineteen of the votes were received by proxy.
No country was allowed more than two votes, with one allocated to the national federation and one at the club level.
"He has a lot of contacts with the smaller clubs and what we have seen in the general assembly is that more or less the smaller clubs are in favor,'' said Van Woerkom.
"When you look to the bigger clubs ... they all are against. So when you count the members behind the members then I don't think he will succeed.''
Gueorgui Yanakiev, president of Bulgaria's motoring federation, said the assembly had made the right decision.
"We voted for a very successful president that made this organisation a very respected body,'' Yanakiev said through a translator.
"We think it is good for FIA if Max finishes his mandate.''
Australian representative Gary Connelly was conciliatory.
"The organisation has a great future,'' Connelly said. "The majority of people believe we must remain united.''
Mosley is the son of British Union of Fascists party founder Oswald Mosley, a former British politician who served in Parliament for the Labour and Conservative parties.
Oswald Mosley died in 1980.