Todt attacks Ward over campaign

ESPN Staff
December 6, 2013 « Todt re-election confirmed by FIA | GP2 unveils 2014 calendar »

FIA president Jean Todt has attacked previous presidential candidate David Ward for claims made during his campaign.

Ward reported Todt to the FIA's Ethics Committee in September, accusing Todt of using FIA meetings to gain written commitments to vote for his re-election from member clubs. Ward also claimed that "the FIA's election processes, its ethics committee, and its financial reporting fail to match good governance principles and practices of the IOC", only for the International Olympic Committee to refute his claims.

Ward ultimately withdrew from the election, and after being re-elected as president Todt criticised Ward for what he described as an "irresponsible attack" on the FIA.

"This unity - the unity of the FIA family - is a precious asset that we must protect," Todt said during his acceptance speech in Paris. "This is a fundamental value that we must respect and defend. It is a duty for all of us and even more so for those who aspire to positions of responsibility within our organisation.

"I have nothing against competition. On the contrary, it has always been at the heart of my professional life. It is legitimate that it is exercised in a democratic election such as that of the FIA. Competition is a good thing because it forces you to give the best of yourself.

"For this reason, I welcome healthy debate. But debate should focus on ideas, not on individuals. It should lift an organisation, not lower it; it should strengthen an organisation, not weaken it. Above all, debate must be based on truth, honesty, and integrity.

"I deeply regret that in the course of these last few weeks we have had unfounded insinuations cast on the FIA's governance, the transparency of its accounts, and the integrity of its members. Worse, the Press was used repeatedly to spread these false claims, where they only harm the image of our FIA family. Faced with this irresponsible attack, we took a decision not to engage in a public fight with the media which would have only been destructive for our organisation.

"Instead we chose to address our clubs directly with the truth. We led a campaign based on honesty and ideas and policies for the future. You fully understood and supported this, and for that I thank you sincerely."

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