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FIA Considers Appeal to Briatore's Court Decision

Although the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance ruled against the lifetime ban imposed by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to former team manager Flavio Briatore, the legal saga between those two parties doesn't seem to be over just yet.

In a press release on the FIA official website, the international racing body takes note of the Court's ruling yesterday afternoon, but confirms that “the court’s decision is not enforceable until the FIA's appeal options have been exhausted. Until then, the World Motor Sport Council’s decision continues to apply.”

Therefore, we are to expect a counter legal action from the FIA also, as the ruling body may appeal the Court's ruling in the next few days.

The FIA's ability to exclude those who intentionally put others' lives at risk has never before been put into doubt and the FIA is carefully considering its appeal options on this point,” added the FIA press release.

Returning to the Court's ruling, it's imperative for the readers to know that the Paris judges did not necessarily clear Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds of the race-fixing charges (it did not issue any verdicts regarding their actual involvement in the crash-gate), but found that the FIA does not have the authority to impose such a ban to people who don't hold any license to compete; such as the aforementioned two. Therefore, the Court's ruling refers to the ban, not Briatore's innocence in this case.

The FIA ... can sanction licence holders, leaders, members of the ASNs [national sporting authorities], but it cannot with respect to third parties, take measures equivalent to a sanction - in contravention of article 28 of its statutes,” said the court.

The World Council, by forbidding FIA members and licenses to work with Messrs Briatore and Symonds, on the one hand added a negative condition – to not work with them – which is not provided for within the FIA statutes.”

In addition, the judges did admit a conflict of interest in the enquiry that took place in the crash-gate, with former president Max Mosley having a decisive role in that.

The decision of the World Council was presided over by the FIA president, who was well known to be in conflict with Briatore, with Mr. Mosley having played a leading role in launching the enquiry and its investigation in violation of the principle of separation of the power of the bodies. The decision (of the FIA World Motor Sport Council) is not annulled but declared irregular, and rendered without effect in its provisions against Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds.
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