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EU announces extended Nurburgring probe

The European Union has announced that it is to extend its investigation into the funding of the Nurburgring after the German circuit received an emergency local govermnent bail-out.


If the Nurburgring thought it was going through the mill as it attempts to source the finance not only to stage next year's German Grand Prix but to ensure its own long-term survival, it will not welcome the news that emergency funding is now to be investigated by the European Union.

Last week, the historic venue announced that it was on the brink of administration following the EU's refused to sanction a bail-out, only for the local Rhineland-Palatinate government - which has an interest in seeing he venue survive having invested millions of Euros in its project to build a motorsport theme park - to step in and issue a loan guarantee, and implement measures such as rescheduling interest payments and possible company restructuring [see story here].

The EU, however, has decided that the state aid could contravene its regulations, and has announced that it is to extend a probe into the funding that was originally launched in March.

"At this stage, we have doubts that the measures were granted on market terms and that the companies are viable without continued state support," a statement confirmed, "The extension of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the additional measures under assessment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

"The commission considers that these additional measures are strongly linked to other aid measures that it has been investigating since March because of concerns that they may not have been granted on market terms. The commission is concerned that Nürburgring may already have been a company in difficulties in 2008 when it received the previous aid.

"Because of its highly distortive effects on competition, rescue or restructuring aid to a company in financial difficulties may be granted to a given company only once in a period of ten years."

The Nurburgring is due to stage the German Grand Prix in 2013, but revealed this week that it 'could not afford' to do so on its current deal with FOM [see story here]. Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that the F1 schedule cannot afford to lose the German round, but has not yet offered to renegotiate financial terms, having already done so in the past few years as the 'Ring entered into a biennial race-share with Hockenheim.



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Taz

August 09, 2012 9:01 AM

A probe from an entity that has massively wasted European tax payers money over the years and give us many pointless laws that have cost billions to implement....the irony. What next, Bernie been appointed to investigate corruption in the banking sector.

Caroline - Unregistered

August 09, 2012 9:40 AM

There are several problems at the Nurburgring. 1st, the white elephant of a theme park, they should have concentrated on their core business of Motor Sport. 2nd, the EU's constant attacks on F1, remember it was the EU that forced the FIA to off-load the F1 commercial rights in the first place, now they're trying a different line of attack. Makes you wonder why Football and the Olympics aren't put under the same pressure, as both receive massive state funds that run into billions.



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