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.

"If Mr Craw has been involved, given that he is a candidate in the 2013 election, can you please explain why this has been allowed?," Ward asked in a letter to Clermont sent on Monday. "Surely his involvement breaches the undertaking you gave me that Senate members standing in the election would not participate in such discussions and significantly compromises the mission assigned to the Senate by the World Councils?"

The FIA's Ethics Committee was already due to meet in Paris this week to look into complaints made by Ward about Todt's conduct in the early stages of the election. The chairman of the Ethics Committee, Robert Jones from the UK Motor Sports Association, has already excused himself on the grounds of a potential conflict of interest and The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that another of the five-person panel, Viviane Eleonora Monteiro, might be forced to stand down as well.

A prosecutor at the Brazilian Motor Racing Confederation, Monteiro is a personal friend of Todt's wife actress Michelle Yeoh. In addition, the head of the Confederation was one of the signatories of a letter for support for Todt's candidacy for relection signed in Uruguay earlier in 2013.

There is also confusion over who exactly the Ethics Committee should report to with recommendations of how to proceed, as statutes say this should be the FIA President. With Todt himself the person under investigation in this case, there is apparently no alternative procedure in place.

The FIA was not responding to Ward's complaints when contacted by the media on Monday, and a media release from Jean Todt's campaign for the presidency did not address any of the issues raised by Ward in the last few days.

Instead, Todt focussed on how his team had brought stability to the FIA's major championships, improved junior formulae and grassroots racing through the reinvigoration of European F3 and the launch of the F4 national series and added that he had future-proofed the sport with the establishment of technologically innovative series such as the World Endurance Championship and Formula E.


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