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In a defiant press statement, the government of Western Australia insisted that Telstra Rally Australia – a World Championship round since 1989 – would remain in Perth in 2001. The government denied recent reports suggesting that the rally could shift to Victoria on the more densely populated eastern side of Australia. "The nomination of Perth for inclusion in the World Rally Championship calendar for 2001 has been lodged with the FIA by CAMS in April this year. CAMS has confirmed its nomination of Perth," stated WA Tourism Minister Norman Moore, referring to the Confederation of Australian Motorsport, the governing body. The statement continued: "Western Australia Tourism Commission chief executive officer Shane Crockett and Mr. Osborn [President of CAMS] travelled to London earlier this week to talk to Max Mosley, the President of the FIA, and David Richards, who holds the television rights for the event. "Mr. Moore said that in those meetings, Mr. Mosley had confirmed that the FIA would only receive an Australian application for a round of the championship from CAMS and if a choice of venue should emerge, it was a matter for CAMS to determine.
“Futhermore, Mr. Mosley said that the FIA would support the recognised national motorsport body and would not take kindly to any of its national bodies, such as CAMS Ltd., being pushed around...
"Mr. Richards confirmed it was his understanding that it was CAMS' role to make the choice of venue." While the WA statement was designed to quell speculation, reliable sources are by no means certain that this is an end to the matter and want to know why it is considered necessary that Richards, as TV rights holder, should attend the meeting. It was believed that Victoria had been bidding to take over from WA as the rally's host for at least five years. Other rallies were queuing up to stake their claim to a place in the World Championship. The Lebanon Rally was pressing its claim as the best candidate in the Middle East, pointing out that it provides an opportunity of reaching the world's 268 million Arabic speakers, while the Deutschland Rally was also keen.
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