The Monte Carlo Rally will be on next year's world championship schedule, having been granted a stay of execution by the sport's governing body.

There had been suspicions that the traditional season-opener would be axed after problems with spectator safety led to criticisms of the FIA by rally organisers. However, at the same hearing that granted Silverstone a reprieve for the British F1 Grand Prix, the Automobile Club de Monaco presented proposals for a more tightly-run event in 2001, and the FIA has agreed that it will be included on the calendar.

''Following the request of the World Motor Sport Council at its meeting in April, the Automobile Club de Monaco has presented detailed plans for completely restructuring safety measures for the Monte Carlo Rally,'' read an FIA statement, ''These include a new, much tighter, itinerary, and a restriction on the number of competitors to 40. The World Motor Sport Council found the plans satisfactory, and confirmed the inclusion of the Monte Carlo Rally in the 2001 World Rally Championship calendar.''

The decision will please competitors and teams alike for, while describing the spectator situation as dangerous, most enjoy the event and claim it is a vital part of the schedule.