EU politician questions F1’s Liberty sale

"If the FIA approves the sale..."



27 September 2016 - 12:23
EU politician questions F1’s Liberty (...)

A European politician has questioned whether F1’s high profile sale to Liberty Media should be allowed to proceed.

Earlier, it was British EU parliamentarian Anneliese Dodds who pushed hardest for Sauber and Force India to lodge their complaint about the sport’s income distribution and governance systems.

And now, she is turning her attention to the Liberty deal.

An alleged conflict of interest was first raised by former FIA president Max Mosley recently, when he pointed out that the sport’s governing body must simultaneously approve the deal whilst standing to gain $90 million.

"It may be that the European Commission might come along and say ’You’re not allowed to do that’, but they might not," he had said.

However, officials are clearly pushing ahead with the Liberty handover.

F1 sponsorship guru Zak Brown has now confirmed that he is stepping down from his agency, amid strong rumours he will take up a prominent role with Liberty.

"I will take this experience forward to my next chapter in the arena I know best — motor sport," Brown confirmed in a statement.

But politician Dodds wants the brakes to be slammed on.

"It is unacceptable that a regulator of any industry should be allowed to benefit financially from sanctioning the sale of one of the companies it regulates," she told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

And two top lawyers agree with Dodds and Mosley that the FIA’s controversial ownership of a 1 per cent stake could be a spanner in the works.

"If the FIA approves the sale, people may question whether it was driven by the desire to get the multi-million sale proceeds," sports lawyer Charles Briathwaite told Sylt and the Telegraph.

Tim Owen QC added: "No regulator exercising quasi-judicial powers can have a financial interest in the very subject matter it is supposed to be regulating as an independent, unbiased body."

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