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FIA defends itself from attacks over unclear accounting
The FIA, no stranger to brickbats and criticism, has come under fire from an unlikely source with the 116-year old Royal Automobile Club (RAC) attacking it for a lack of disclosure in its accounts. The RAC, a members club which is not part of the breakdown service, was a founding member of the FIA.
The FIA is based in Paris where it is not obliged to file publicly-accessible account as a non-profit-making organisation.
The accounts are approved by its 236 members at the annual meeting and it believed the annual revenue is around £50 million. After the most recent meeting the Sunday Telegraph reported that Tom Purves, the RAC chairman, wrote to FIA president Jean Todt to ask for details of payments totalling around £12 million.
In the letter, dated July 25, Purves said "there is a lack of the narrative or detail in the FIA accounts that one would not expect of an international entity, or UK entity. As a chairman responsible for the deployment of members' funds in an appropriate manner, I question the value we receive from our membership fee."
The newspaper said he had queried two items in particular - "personnel expenses of €6.1 million and €8.3 million for travel, missions and conferences".
Nick Craw, president of the FIA's decision-making body, the Senate, replied curtly that these issues had not been raised at the time adding he was "curious as to the reasons and timing of your questions".
He continued: "The costs indicated in the FIA accounts reflect the salaries and social security contributions for those staff." He said the accounts were audited by a reputable firm and "their certification of our accounts is without reservation, which confirms to our members the strictness and quality of our bookkeeping".