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WRC NEWS 

FIA says ex-World Rally promoter North One gave no assurances over investment

Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford, GB 2011The FIA has issued a damning statement regarding the termination of North One Sport's contract as promoter of the World Rally Championship, saying the firm could give no assurances that it would receive the investment required to continue in its role.

Yesterday, AUTOSPORT revealed the governing body had terminated the agreement on Friday evening, despite NOS believing it had an investor ready to buy the company and safeguard its future. The FIA insists no such offer to purchase NOS was presented to it.

The statement said: "The FIA sought urgent unequivocal assurances from NOS that it could fulfil its contractual obligations and deliver the promotion of the upcoming Rally Monte Carlo and the Championship for 2012 and for the future. It is with regret and disappointment that no such assurance has been given to the FIA, and therefore today the FIA has been driven to terminate its contract with NOS. NOS has conspicuously failed to deliver its contractual obligations and is in fundamental breach of contract.

"The FIA has fully supported and co-operated with both NOS and the administrators of the parent company CSI [Convers Sports Initiatives, now in administration] in their efforts to secure a purchaser. Contrary to press speculation however, no firm offer to purchase NOS has been presented to the FIA during this period but only numerous non-binding expressions of interest subject to due diligence. The FIA has been notified of at least seven expressions of interest, but none have come to fruition."

The statement adds that the FIA is confident of delivering the opening round of the WRC, Rally Monte-Carlo, which begins in 10 days.

"The FIA has given time and support to all the parties concerned to find the right solutions," it said. "Regrettably however, 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.

"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. The Federation is now working tirelessly to ensure the WRC goes ahead as fully as planned to mitigate the consequences of the breach of NOS.

"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."

North One Sport staff members will attend a redundancy meeting in London tomorrow morning. Eurosport is expected to step in to the WRC promoter role in North One's place.

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