FIA presidential candidate David Ward has expressed his disappointment after the FIA Ethics Committee dismissed his claims of electoral wrongdoing by rival – and present incumbent – Jean Todt.
Ward felt that the Frenchman 'jump started' the election race by gaining support from automobile clubs in South America ahead of the agreed campaign period and as a result he made a formal complaint.
The FIA Ethics Committee's findings were published on Thursday
, with Ward then issuing his own statement in response. In it he adds it is 'regrettable' that the FIA Ethics Committee has 'failed to address important issues about the fairness and transparency of the election process', especially as said process is 'already marred by confusion over the rules and the use of support agreements'.
The full statement from Ward reads:
“I am disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not accept that the support agreements obtained by Mr Todt are inconsistent with the FIA rules and policies regarding its Presidential election. I do not agree that I failed to produce any evidence in support of my complaint. I submitted witness statements which showed clearly that there was concern about the support agreements. That I was requested to submit them only under conditions of strict confidentiality also reveals the difficulty that some club representatives have in expressing their opinions on this issue openly. I also documented how in other regions notably in Africa and in Europe club leaders were concerned about the issue and opposed to signing support agreements. The Committee has powers to investigate but in my case it chose not to use them.
“I regret that the Committee did not respond to my protest about its composition which included a member from a club that was directly involved in the support agreement issue and clearly supportive of Mr Todt. It is very disappointing that they refused to do so even after a very senior club President had written independently to the Committee asking that its composition should be 'uncontested and above suspicion'.
“The Ethics Committee suggests that I was wrong to challenge regulations 'in the heat of the elections' and implies that I could have raised this with another 'appropriate FIA body'. The Committee seems to imply that I should have referred this to the Statutes Review Commission which meets only infrequently and has no specific role in supervising the election. Unfortunately the FIA lacks an Election Commission or similar independent body to which procedural complaints can be lodged. Given that there was urgency in my request to declare the support agreements be revoked it is hard to understand why the Ethics Committee is opposed to dealing with such issues.
“The 2013 FIA election process is already marred by confusion over the rules and the use of support agreements. These irregularities notably concern the requirement to have the support of seven Vice Presidents for Sport. I think the Ethics Committee has failed to understand the connection between support agreements ratified by an FIA region on bloc and the huge difficulty this creates for any candidate trying to obtain Vice Presidents for their list. In my view the Ethics Committee can and should consider such issues and make recommendations for change.
“My purpose in standing has been to highlight the current flaws in the governance of the FIA. I think the current confusion over the election rules which require a change even after the contest has started proves my point. It is also regrettable that the Ethics Committee has, in my opinion, failed to address important issues about the fairness and transparency of the election process.”