The FIA has been forced to clarify rules governing the election of its president, just weeks before this year's vote takes place between incumbent Jean Todt and challenger David Ward for the position.
In a letter to the FIA membership, chief administrative officer Damien Clermont concedes that a confusion has resulted from the combined reading of Articles 9.4 of the Statutes and 6 of the Internal Regulations.
The FIA presidential election rules require a candidate to present a 'cabinet' of 17 members standing in support of his campaign, from both the sporting and mobility branches of the organisation. However, recent changes within the FIA mean that the mobility vice-presidents who are supposed to appear on the slate are in fact no longer appointed by the president but are instead elected directly by the regions.
As a result, the FIA has issued a clarification that the election rules will be changed and an amendment to Article 6 of the Internal Regulations will be formally proposed at the next meeting of the FIA General Assembly.
The presidential list will now consist of just 11 names, headed by the presidential candidate himself. Also on the list are nominations for the President of the Senate, a Deputy President for Automobile Mobility and Tourism, a Deputy President for Sport and seven vice-presidents of the FIA for Sport from among the candidates for the World Motor Sport Council.
Ward responded to the latest row in this year's election as a "farce" and said that it was exactly this sort of mismanagement that he was campaigning to put an end to. "My point all along has been that the FIA's governance is not fit for purpose," he said. "This is a fantastic example of that.
"They've launched an election and then realised they've screwed up the rules in the middle of an election," Ward added.
Ward has counter-proposed that the remaining vice-presidents for Sport should also be directly elected, but the Todt campaign has rejected this idea as "not practical."
“It seems to work perfectly well in electing Vice Presidents for Mobility so why not in the Sport as well?” responded Ward in a media release on Monday. "This would follow the precedent already used for the vice-presidents for Mobility who are elected by their regions independently. This approach is both much simpler, more democratic and accountable."
Ward also picked up on the fact that explanatory notes about the rules discrepancy were apparently signed by the current president of the Senate Nick Craw, despite Clermont's previous assurances that no one standing as a candidate on a presidential list for the 2013 election would allowed to take part in the process of changing the rules.