Motorsports Association of India slams Team MRF

June 13th, 2008 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Mysore, June 13 (IANS) The Motorsports Association of India (MAI) has slammed Team MRF for making allegations against the sport’s governing body while threatening to pull out of the 2008 Indian National Rally Championship (INRC). Team MRF, while refusing to enter their team in the Sidvin-MAI Rally of Mysore, the first round of the INRC motorpsort race that commenced here Friday, had alleged that there was no transparency in the running of the series.

In the process, Anthony Rodricks, general manager-ddvertising of MRF, had stated that he was unhappy with the overall conduct of the INRC.

In a hard-hitting rebuttal, MAI president Nazir Hoosein said MRF were trying to take control of the INRC by interfering in appointment of stewards, scrutinisers and senior officials.

Hoosein said in a rather revealing statement that the sport would not miss MRF and that they were welcome to stay away from the INRC.

Interestingly, when Hoosein formed the breakaway MAI in 2000, it was MRF that supported his move.

The full text of Hoosein’s rejoinder:

“This bears reference to Anthony Rodricks’ statement that the INRC does not provide a level playing field is patently incorrect. Those in the sport of rallying are fully aware that, in reality, Rodricks seeks total control over this discipline. He wants to enter a team, appoint the stewards, appoint the scrutinisers, appoint his own senior officials and that frankly is not possible.

“Unlike many other sports, motorsport has a machinery of justice. The structure consists of a panel of three stewards as the court of first instance. Scrutinisers are not empowered to take decisions - they are empowered to check the technical aspects of a motorcar and report their findings to the Stewards who decide as they deem fit.

“Any competitor, and this includes MRF, then has the right to appeal a stewards decision to the MAI’s National Appeal Court which is headed by Sam Variava, a former Supreme Court Judge.

“Variava many years back was also a part of the organising team of the Himalayan Rally and is in a unique position of being a very experienced judge and also familiar with the requirement of motorsport.

“MRF have never proffered an appeal and consequently stand on thin ice when they make a statement criticising the fairness of the machinery of justice. The clocks that are used in the INRC are set by internet time automatically.

“Consequently, the times given by all the clocks are the same. There has been one instance of a possible human error last year in the Rally Star Cup where a wrong time may have been given by a person handling the clock at the finish of a stage. The stewards adjudicated this issue and decided not to pursue the matter further. The concerned competitor accepted the findings and did not appeal and consequently the matter was concluded.

“It is a pity that a leading team expresses dissatisfaction over the selection of officials but to substantiate this statement, the machinery of justice has to be followed in its entirety.

“As regards transparency, the MAI Rally Commission consists of representatives of drivers, organisers, technical personnel and in fact the entire spectrum concerned with this discipline. MRF is also represented on the Commission and for Rodricks to then talk about transparency is wrong.

“He then talks about a promoter when in fact we finally have in Sidvin CoreTech the first promoter for this championship. We have for the first round in Mysore 41 entries, which speaks volumes for the growth of the sport and this discipline. Indian manufacturers are now expressing interest in participating and if MRF feels that the conduct of the INRC is biased, they are welcome to stay away.

“They will not be missed.”

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