UPDATE: Chandler says WRC will go ahead as planned, despite financial woes
- 11th January 2012, 2:39pm
Rallying's governing body is in urgent talks to secure the future of the World Rally Championship after cancelling the contract with promoters North One Sport just 10 days before the Monte Carlo season-opener.
The International Automobile Federation said in a statement that North One Sport (NOS) had "conspicuously failed" to deliver its contractual obligations for 2012 and beyond and was in breach of contract.
North One were bought last year by Convers Sports Initiatives, owned by Russian businessman, Vladimir Antonov, and now in administration.
Antonov has been arrested and bailed in Britain along with his Lithuanian business partner, Raimondas Baranauskas, on suspicion of fraud and large-scale embezzlement.
The FIA said it had been notified of at least seven expressions of interest to buy North One but none had come to anything.
"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," said the FIA.
"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," it added.
"The Federation is now working tirelessly to ensure the WRC goes ahead as fully as planned to mitigate the consequences of the breach."
The FIA reassured all stakeholders of its commitment to the championship.
"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," it said.
"The FIA is fully confident that it will deliver a safe, successful and exciting 2012 season," it added.
FIA vice-president, New Zealander Morrie Chandler, says that the WRC will go ahead this year, despite the problems.
"We can be sure the 2012 WRC will run as planned ..... I'm sure this situation will be resolved swiftly and effectively," Chandler said.
UPDATE: The Automobile Club de Monaco has confirmed Eurosport will cover the Monte Carlo Rally, round one of the World Rally Championship.
The ACM issued a statement explaining the decision on Thursday, stating that Eurosport will produce television and internet coverage for the event which starts from Valence on Wednesday.
An announcement confirming Eurosport will film the WRC for the next three years is expected soon.
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