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2012-01-09 11:09

WRC UP IN THE AIR: The International Automobile Federation has sacked the main promotoer of the World Rally championship just days before the start of the 2012 season.

Alan Baldwin

LONDON, England - Rallying's governing body was in urgent talks on Sunday to secure the future of the World championship after cancelling its contract with promoter North One Sport only 10 days before the Monte Carlo season-opener.

The International Automobile Federation said North One Sport had "conspicuously failed" to deliver its contractual obligations for 2012 and beyond and was in breach of contract. It was bought in 2011 year by Convers Sports Initiatives, owned by Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov but 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," the FIA saaid. "This has placed the FIA in an unprecedented situation just 10 days before the Monte Carlo rally in that the FIA will now have to take urgent action to secure the staging of the championship.

"The federation is now working 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 key organisational and promotional components of the championship, among them timing and tracking, TV production and distribution and sponsorship servicing.

"The FIA is fully confident that it will deliver a safe, successful and exciting 2012 season," it added.


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