By Matthew Agius

V8 Supercar and Holden Racing Team fans will need to continue waiting to see if the most popular team in the V8 Supercar Championship Series will be given the boot after the Touringcar Entrants Board of Australia (TEGA) 'dissects' paperwork submitted today.

Skaife Sports, the supposed owners of the Holden Racing Team, were given fourteen days to provide paperwork showing that lead driver Mark Skaife is in control of the Holden Racing Team, and not former owner, Tom Walkinshaw.

The Holden Racing Team has been embroiled in controversy since the weeks leading up to the season start at Clipsal 500 Adelaide last weekend. After failing to meet the initial deadline to submit paperwork, a deadline that was met by the sister Toll HSV Dealer Team, a fourteen day extension was granted.

That extension expired today.

The TEGA board met over the course of the weekend and on Monday afternoon to review Skaife's submission. However the board's chairman Kelvin O'Reilly left the meeting with bad news for Ford fans, and a lifeline for the HRT-loyal.

"For the benefit of all parties concerned and the Championship in general TEGA is attempting to have this matter determined as soon as possible," said O'Reilly.

"As much as we would have hoped to have a decision today, the complexity of the issue remains such that it will take time to dissect the documents and determine whether they are in order or not.

"This is an extremely complex and delicate matter that TEGA needs to work through. Paperwork has been lodged but that doesn't mean that it complies, that is for TEGA to ultimately decide."

An indeed the decision will be a big one. If the Holden Racing Team is found to be in breach of the Team's Licence Agreement, TEGA has the right to throw the most successful team in the series out of the championship. The Holden Racing Team must prove that Mark Skaife owns and fully controls the team, and not Tom Walkinshaw - the owner of Walkinshaw Performance - the Holden Racing Team's main chassis and technology supplier.

There are clouds hanging over Clayton however. Just next door to the Holden Racing Team's main headquarters, the Toll HSV Dealer Team, another beneficiary of Walkinshaw Performance and the 'sister' team of the HRT, was approved by TEGA on the original deadline. Team owners John and Margaret Kelly were given tick by TEGA and did not require any of the extensions offered to the Holden Racing Team.

TEGA is at a crossroads. If the Holden Racing Team is in breach of its licensing agreement, any sports fan, especially in Australia, would expect the book to be thrown at the team. The history of the nation's football codes shows that serious breaches, such as violating the league salary cap, are handed severe penalties. The Carlton (Australian Rules) Football Club was stripped of its top draft picks for breaches during 2002; whilst the Canterbury Bulldogs (Rugby League) lost a place in the finals after the NRL fined the club and stripped the team of all points won during the season.

Even motorsport on an international level has seen serious breaches of regulations penalised. During the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship, British American Racing were found guilty of running an illegal fuel tank at the San Marino Grand Prix, and were subsequently stripped of all competition points won to that stage of the championship, and were banned from the following two races.

However the Holden Racing Team is the biggest team in the V8 Supercar Championship, with one of the biggest fan bases in Australian sport. No other team has won more races, more championships or more Bathursts than the HRT.

If the Holden Racing Team is found guilty of contract breaches, TEGA will need to decide whether the sporting fairness or commercial interests of V8 Supercars take preference in this heated issue.

Regardless of the outcome, this farcical enquiry into ownership has taken far too long and has been bringing the sport into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The sport would benefit greatly if the matter is resolved as soon as possible, and preferably before the next round of the series in Perth....

...Todd Kelly has already won the Clipsal 500 on points, let's hope it wasn't for nothing.