North One Sport will no longer act as the promoter of the World Rally Championship, the FIA has announced.
The decision follows a period of uncertainty after NOS's parent company, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), went into administration at the end of November. The FIA said that NOS has 'conspicuously failed to deliver its contractual obligations' and is in 'fundamental breach' of contract.
According to Autosport.com
, NOS had been working on a deal with a Qatari investment group, which would have allowed it to continue as the promoter. However these negotiations broke down - it is not clear why - and it is now understood Eurosport
will take over as the promoter, despite the potential conflict of interest, as Eurosport
are behind the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The news comes just ten days before Rallye Monte Carlo, the opening round of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship, with the FIA now promising to 'work tirelessly to ensure the WRC goes ahead as fully as planned'.
The full FIA statement read:
“Last Friday the FIA served notice to terminate its contract with North One Sport, the Promoter of the FIA World Rally Championship. The FIA sought urgent unequivocal assurances from NOS that it could fulfil its contractual obligations and deliver the promotion of the upcoming Rally Monte Carlo and the Championship for 2012 and for the future. It is with regret and disappointment that no such assurance has been given to the FIA, and therefore today the FIA has been driven to terminate its contract with NOS. NOS has conspicuously failed to deliver its contractual obligations and is in fundamental breach of contract.
“Following the recent unforeseen circumstances which led to Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) the parent company being placed into administration in November 2011, the FIA has fully supported and co-operated with both NOS and the administrators of the parent company CSI in their efforts to secure a purchaser. Contrary to press speculation however, no firm offer to purchase NOS has been presented to the FIA during this period but only numerous non-binding expressions of interest subject to due diligence. The FIA has been notified of at least seven expressions of interest, but none have come to fruition.
“The FIA has given time and support to all the parties concerned to find the right solutions. Regrettably however, not only has NOS failed to perform in accordance with its contract, it has also been unable to secure the essential investment required to enable it to deliver the Championship.
“This has placed the FIA in an unprecedented situation just 10 days before Rally Monte Carlo in that the FIA will now have to take urgent action to secure the staging of the Championship. The Federation is now working tirelessly to ensure the WRC goes ahead as fully as planned to mitigate the consequences of the breach of NOS.
“At the start of the 2012 season, the FIA wishes to take this opportunity to reassure all its stakeholders - the Automobile Club de Monaco and Rally Monte Carlo which makes a welcome return as the opening round of the Championship, the other vital commercial partners, Rally Organisers, the Manufacturers and Teams, and the vast loyal worldwide fan base - of its full on-going commitment to the World Rally Championship and its determination to see 2012 take place as planned.
“The FIA has now launched urgent top level discussions with several partners and suppliers to guarantee the key organisational and promotional components of the Championships, including timing and tracking, TV production and distribution, as well as sponsorship servicing are put in place.