Valencia deal sparks political storm

The announcement that Valencia will host a Grand Prix from 2008 has sparked a political storm in Spain, after Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has conditioned the agreement on the re-election of president Francisco Camps

Valencia deal sparks political storm

Ecclestone announced today he had reached a deal with the Valencia regional government to host a Grand Prix on a circuit around the Spanish city's new America's Cup port.

But Ecclestone revealed the seven-year agreement is conditional on Camps winning local elections, to be held later this month.

"The contract will not be signed until after the election, but I'm convinced it will happen," Ecclestone told a news conference.

Opposition groups in Valencia and the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) in Madrid voiced strong criticism of the agreement and accused Camps, of the centre-right Partido Popular party, of trying to make political capital out of the event.

"This is an insult to the people of Valencia who are above these sort of conditional offers," said Inmaculada Rodriguez-Pinero, the PSOE's secretary of politics, economics and employment.

The PSOE said the announcement contravened electoral rules and have made an official complaint to the electoral commission.

The race, to be called the European Grand Prix, is scheduled for late in the season on a newly designed circuit by German Hermann Tilke.

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