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FIA presidential battle turns ugly

ESPN Staff
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David Ward believes Jean Todt's use of the meetings "represents a serious violation of the FIA's rules, regulations and ethical code" © Sutton Images

FIA presidential candidate David Ward has accused Jean Todt of using FIA meetings to gain written commitments to vote for his re-election from member clubs.

Ward announced his candidacy after the Belgian Grand Prix, with Todt confirming in Monza last weekend that he would be seeking a second term as president. However, it hasn't taken long for the gloves to come off in campaigning, with Ward releasing a statement saying he will report Todt to the FIA's Ethics Committee over what he believes to be a use of official meetings for personal gain.

"The FIA arranges and pays for meetings around the world, including to discuss how regions will benefit from future FIA activities and resources," Ward said. "It emerges that, at these meetings, a number of clubs have been asked to sign formal written commitments to support Jean Todt's re-election bid, in the form of 'support agreements'.

"It is vital that the FIA election processes are conducted in a fair, democratic and transparent manner. I believe that demanding signature of support agreements in these circumstances represents a serious violation of the FIA's rules, regulations and ethical code.

"The complaint will enable the Ethics Committee to investigate the legitimacy of these agreements, the circumstances in which signatures were demanded, and whether it is an appropriate use of the FIA's resources for its staff and management to pursue Mr. Todt's personal re-election ambitions at official FIA regional meetings."

Speaking to The Telegraph in Monza, Todt rejected claims he has acted improperly.

"How can I avoid it?" Todt said, referring to letters of support he has received. "If you have a group of people who say 'You are doing a good job. We want you'. I never put a knife, or a gun to someone's head."