1996: New president, new style
* The executive board met on 12 January in the FIM offices in Mies. With president Zerbi, Deputy president Youngblood, treasurer Kittilsen and secretary general Guy Maitre present, CMS president Wolfgang Srb also attended because one of the issues being handled concerned motocross (and in particular a TV contract).
* Attention then moved to motocross and a report to establish a TV contract. The president announced that he had found a better solution that that proposed before. Eurosport was offering to work with the company Moteurs Production which was already producing the magazine programme “Motors” for the European theme channel. This company would join together with the company Action Group which had acquired great experience in promoting motocross events. In addition, the contract would include the three classes 125, 250 and 500cc as well as the motocross des Nations (which was not included in the earlier option). For the rest, the conditions were the same.
* The members of the executive board accompanied by the CMS president then met representatives from both companies, Messrs Jean-Luc Roy and Giuseppe Luongo, who were questioned about their financial situation, the way they envisaged the two companies implementing the contract and the planned television broadcast of the motocross world championships in particular within the magazine “Speedworld” on Eurosport.
* After discussions, the executive board accepted to sign a contract for one year with Action Group/Moteurs Productions. Apart from the points already raised, the contract stipulated that these two companies would act jointly and in solidarity and would upon request provide the FIM with all information in particular on a financial level, relating to the execution of the contract. A penalty clause and a financial guarantee were also foreseen.
* The contract with Dorna for ice racing would expire at the end of 1996 and the president entrusted the treasurer and CCP president with undertaking negotiations to find a new partner, since Dorna had already stated its intention not to renew.
* The conference meetings took place from 1 to 4 March. The president informed that in accordance with the statutes, he had renounced the presidency of the FMI during the assembly held on 18 February in Rome. His last activity report had been unanimously approved and he had received the title of honorary president of the Italian federation.
* The president explained the decision of the executive board concerning the TV contract for motocross and asked the council members to be attentive and the president of the CMS to “check that the contract should be executed in a way which is satisfactory for our partners”. The council gave its approval to the draft contract as submitted.
* The financial arrangement between the four partners (FIM, RPM, Dorna, Flammini) for the European open championship had been defined. From 1997 onwards, the number of races would be increased as well as their geographic distribution.
* The president also gave details of his trip to Japan in January and the “very positive” meeting he had had with the manufacturers’ representatives. He also touched the subject of information that was circulating concerning a contract that had allegedly been signed between IRTA and a French TV/marketing company. On the previous day, 29 February, the FIM published a press release in which it had reiterated “for all intents and purposes, it is the only holder of TV and marketing rights for the road racing GP world championship, rights it had ceded in a contract valid until 2006 to the company Dorna/TWP with which it enjoys very good relations”. The president also stated that according to article 11 of the contract, the FIM had to be consulted on any ceding of the rights.
* The president explained that the FIM regulations and statutes would have to evolve to respond to new objectives. So he asked everyone to submit proposals for amendments in writing taking into account such objectives such as the creation of continental unions. The updating of the statutes would be completed in co-operation with a university institute specialising in sports law located in Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
* The president took the opportunity to thank the secretary general and FIM staff for their excellent co-operation. He was pleased to note that “the secretariat is composed of people who are competent and motivated”.
* The secretary general announced that the contract had been signed with the company IDTM for drugs testing. He also mentioned that Mr Jean-Pierre Moser had been hired as chief accountant. A licences service had been set up and a computer network was beginning to be installed. The convention between the FIM and the FIVA had been officially approved by the FIVA. The council gave its approval for the FIM to sign it.
* An awareness campaign aimed at young riders was taking place at that time in Spain in 1500 schools addressing therefore 350,000 pupils according to vice president Jorge Cabezas.
* The main part of the council session covered the reorganisation of the FIM and the grouping of the FMNs according to region or continent, one of the major themes of the proposal made by Mr Zerbi when he was presidential candidate in 1995. A first meeting had taken place in January between deputy president Youngblood, vice president Mougin and Dr Schepers (EPPA). The main aim of this concept was to facilitate the defence and promotion of motorcycling in all aspects (tourism, sport, mobility…); to facilitate co-operation with industry; to encourage growth and expansion by recognising that the various geopolitical regions had different needs and finally to modernise the general functioning of the FIM. The role of the regions would be to provide an effective and efficient link between the national federations and the FIM. The regional (or continental) organisers could both react immediately on a regional level and contribute to the FIM’s global strategy. A strategic plan and a long-term support plan had to be developed because regional groups would not understand their mission if there were no global objectives. The FIM statutes and internal regulations had to be revised in order to define a new political and operational structure to hand over the powers and update the regionalisation of its members. In the best case scenario, these rules would come into force in 1998.
* In general, the council admitted that the FIM had to prepare a long term strategic plan to develop motorcycling all over the world. The FIM should not subsidise or finance the regions, but teach them to develop their own resources. The FIM should share its experience with the regions and enable them to achieve a higher level of management and thrift. A letter would be sent to the FMNs explaining the situation to them and inviting them to provide their point of view.
* Deputy president Ed Youngblood informed the management council that he had decided to step down from his functions and that he would not be standing for vice president at the next congress. To make things clear, he explained: “the AMA is currently in a phase of restructuring and subsidiary companies must be created, necessitating more time on his part. The AMA board of directors had also asked him to be more available for national issues”. Moreover he thought it was the time to take this decision. He had been an FIM delegate for 25 years and had assumed seven successive mandates as vice president, serving four different presidents. His resignation would take effect at the end of May just after the executive board meeting in Boston, during which he would introduce the new IMMA president, Mr Tim Hoelter (from Harley Davidson) to the new FIM president. The president paid tribute to the work completed over all these years by Ed Youngblood saying that “he had not succeeded in making him reverse his decision”.
* The CT president announced that Mr Steve Whitelock had been named permanent scrutineer in the superbike world championship.
* The CT president, Mr Puig Bulto, stated that the GP permanent board had authorised an increase in the level of noise of the machines without consulting the CT. Following a discussion, the council agreed that the level of noise for GPs should be brought into line with FIM levels. The president noted this and said that he would do as much as possible to make sure that the federation had its say on the subject of GP regulations in general (sic). The CT president took the opportunity to remind those present that according to a decision of 1993, the use of unleaded fuel for all two stroke engines in road racing would be compulsory from 1 January 1997.
* The panel for public affairs indicated that the symposium on advanced riding courses for experienced riders would take place in the Luxembourg parliament on 30 and 31 May. The CIAP was preoccupied with the future training of regional European commissions. The members would have to take on the cost. The FIM had not been represented at all the meetings of the road safety federation nor the transport safety council. The CIAP considered it important that the FIM fulfilled its obligations.
* The president then informed the management council members that the European motorcycling union had been officially founded on 17 February in Paris. 21 countries were members of this union whose statutes had been approved.
* The executive board met in Boston, Massachussets, USA, on 25 and 26 May, in the rooms of the Marriott Hotel. The board raised the meeting with the IMMA. The IMMA executive board members, Messrs Timothy Hoelter (president) and Nick Rodgers (secretary general) as well as Bernd Thomas (ACEM secretary general) were favourably impressed by Dr Schepers’ presentation and by the fact that the FIM had already developed the broad lines of a strategy covering all sectors for current and future action. They were very interested by the proposal for collaboration with the FIM and asked for a formal request. * Then the president raised the situation in the road racing GPs. The contract between the FIM and Dorna/TWP which had been signed in December 1994 by president Jos Vaessen, would expire at the end of 2006. It stipulated that Dorna/TWP managed all the sporting, technical and commercial rights which the FIM held. Dorna/TWP for its part had retroceded the sporting and technical power almost completely to IRTA via a contract (signed in 1991) which would finish on 31 December 1996. After his election, president Zerbi had contacted Dorna/TWP to see how the powers which had been ceded could be restored to the national federations and the FIM. Dorna/TWP had been favourable to the idea, since from 31 December 1996, the promoter was no longer linked to IRTA. Discussions had taken place with a view to renegotiating the contract. During prolonged individual conversations between Messrs Zerbi, Ecclestone and Ezpeleta, the president had explained that the FIM could not consent to any changes concerning the ownership of the rights and their management, if Dorna was not in a position to accept its request to review the contents of the current contract. Basically, Mr Ecclestone had been in agreement with the president’s ideas and they had parted agreeing that the latter would prepare a draft revision of the existing contract. During a press conference in Jerez, the president explained the FIM’s intentions to journalists.
* Developments were expected in the coming days. It was certain that whoever managed the GPs in the future would have to accept that the sporting and technical rights would once again fall within the FIM remit. In particular, licences would once again be issued by the federation, entries in the world championship would once again be through the FIM and the regulations would once again be submitted for our approval. A limited committee had to be set up for this, on which constructors, teams, riders, suppliers and sponsors would be represented. If there was unanimous approval, the decisions would be adopted, if not, the FIM would decide…
* Less than a month later, the council met in Geneva for the meetings of 22 and 23 June. Following the withdrawal of Ed Youngblood, president Zerbi proposed the Venezuelan Vito Ippolito as Deputy president. Then the president explained the situation of the GP contract and that the Banco Santander had taken over the Banesto Bank. In order to obtain the management of the GPs, Mr Ecclestone had proposed a certain amount to the Banco Santander. President Zerbi confirmed during a recent meeting with Messrs Ezpeleta and Ecclestone that the FIM would not accept to negotiate if all the sporting, technical and medical rights from the GPs were not returned to it. “Mr Ecclestone was very understanding and wished for a closer collaboration between automobile sport (F1) and motorcycling (GP, superbike). If such were the case, the FIM should present to Dorna a project to amend the contract concerning only the sporting, technical and medical rights. Dorna would in turn present this contract to Mr Ecclestone and negotiations could start if he accepted this project”. The president confirmed that there would be no financial loss for the FIM only a few supplementary costs (sic).
* In motocross it was the first year where the three individual classes were broadcast on TV. The promotion of the sport was vital as well as reinforcing the links with industry, the teams, the press and TV partners. Discussions were underway concerning the number, perhaps too high, of world championships as well as sponsor management. The president announced that the proposal from Action Group to renew the contract for five years was not acceptable. In fact, a contract should not exceed the duration of one mandate. He therefore proposed a contract of three years including rights relating to the 125 and 250 GPs with the same advantages as before and in addition the promotion and marketing of the 250 class. “It would be desirable to take into account the requests of Action Group concerning the calendar since it would be confirmed by the CMS and then proposed to the management council. This contract could be renewed as long as the FIM can itself decide on whether to extend the contract or not.”
* The president thanked Mr Goss and the president of the Luxembourg federation, Ed Goedert, for the excellent organisation of the symposium which had been a great success. On this occasion, Albert II, King of Belgium, had received a gold motorcycling merit medal.
* A contract concerning the trial des Nations had been signed, including exclusive TV rights. Concerning the indoor world cup the problem to be solved was the production costs. The promoters and the organisers were holding discussions.
* The CJI president, Mr Soche, stated that there was an unusually high number of appeals and judgements – eight cases, including one in speedway concerning no less than thirteen riders! – and he underlined the practical difficulties: gathering the judges together and checking their nationality in comparison with the people involved. The CJI had to have more judges with both legal and sporting knowledge. He confirmed that following a decision taken in 1994, a verification of facts could not form the subject of a protest. Video recordings normally admitted as a means of proof had to be handled with caution. The secretary general stated that it was essential that these FIM officials should be able to prove the verifications they made. The tribunal would have difficulty in rendering a judgement without the technical documents.
* The management council met on 7 and 8 September. The president indicated that the agreement which would be incorporated into the existing FIM/Dorna/TWP contract had been signed the day before. The main amendments were the following: the FIM had the authority and responsibility over the sporting, technical and medical regulations for the FIM road racing world championship GPs; the licences of the GP riders would be issued by the FIM with the agreement of the rider’s national federation, only if the rider had a valid national licence and if he had not been the subject of national and/or international sanctions; rider entries should be sent to the FIM to check their validity; the GP commission would be composed of representatives from Dorna/TWP, the FIM, the GPMA, the teams and riders (sic) and the sponsors association. Changes could be proposed by any represented party and the final decision would be taken by the permanent board in which the FIM had the right of veto. If there was unanimous agreement in the commission then the decision would automatically come into force. The homologation of circuits remained the exclusive responsibility of the FIM. The calendar would be suggested by Dorna/TWP and then had to be ratified and published by the FIM. Finally the article concerning the side-car class for GPs was dropped..
* The president announced that a new contract between the FIM and Action Group had been signed to last three years on a renewable basis, according to the instructions of the management council given during its last session. For supercross, a contract had been drawn up with Larivière for a duration of four years with an annual bank guarantee. The sporting management remained the federation’s task. The president informed that talks led by the treasurer and the secretary general were underway in order to renew the speedway and ice racing contracts. * The “strategy” working group met on 26 August. The conclusions of the report were unequivocal: “The FIM has an image and visibility problem and it is not the driving force in motorcycling affairs, but it simply suffers from the consequences. Archaic statutes and outdated traditions are the cause of this situation. The appointments and workings of the commissions are completely ineffective. Even in terms of sport, the FIM has lost its dominant position. The management council and the executive board (being possibly extended) should manage the organisation more like a company on the basis of a long-term strategy and a short term business plan, with the help of truly competent people and the best internal and external experts”. The FIM should be the driving force for motorcycling in all its forms, it should take care of sport, tourism and mobility and give them the same importance.
* The FIM returned to Asia. Two years after Kuala Lumpur, it was the turn of Bangkok to host the congress from 13 to 20 October in the Hotel Imperial Queen’s Park. When the general assembly was opened on the Monday morning, 61 federations were present or represented – there would be 63 on the Friday morning the day of the elections
* During the council session, the president announced that the fuel used in 1997 would be the same as in 1996 “in order not to force many riders to incur substantial costs to adapt their engine”. In spite of appeals from the FIM and Dorna, the GPMA had not given any warning on this issue. In the absence of any indications from the manufacturers, the technical commission would take the decision for 1998.
* The secretary general informed the meeting that the FIM was linked to the internal network with the address firstname.lastname@example.org and that an internet site would follow during 1997.
* In track racing, the FIM would like to propose a global contract for speedway/ice racing, but the existing speedway contract did not finish until the end of 1997. A contract purely for ice racing was not arousing any interest and the CCP was entrusted with preparing two calendars for 1997, one with GPs and the other with just a final (this solution would be chosen).
* The federation of the Philippines (NAMSSA) was admitted as a new member. The Yugoslav federation was reintegrated into the FIM after being suspended since 1992. The UEM, the European motorcycling union, was admitted as an associate member on a provisional basis, awaiting the revision of the statutes. The organisers association, ROPA, had resigned.
* They then moved to the statutes. Firstly, the historic introduction was adopted in its definitive version. The modification of article 4 (the two thirds majority was retained, but decisions came into force immediately) was unanimously adopted. The subject then moved to the global remodelling of the statutes with the guiding lines considered during the council’s September meeting. The president explained the new system for electing/nominating council members as well as commission members – no longer elected but appointed following proposals and instructions from the FMNs.
* As you can imagine, discussions were long. Several people took the floor before the general assembly. The problem of the length of mandates and the appointment of members to the commissions created waves. The president repeated that it was a question of giving the management council a mandate to prepare the project for new statutory norms according to general political directions.
* Among the amendments to the sporting code, the question was to know if the general assembly was in favour of maintaining the protected date for the Tourist Trophy. The council proposed the following phrase: “The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy takes place every year in the first week of June” . Accepted (with one abstention). The working group of “Motorcycling and the Environment” proposed to add in the sporting code, the official in charge of the environment and this was also accepted.
* In trial, the commission decided to change the format for 1997 in order to make the discipline more attractive to the public. It was made up of two independent days with individual points. Each day consisted of two laps of 14 sections and an allotted time of 5h30 for each rider. All the results would be taken into account for the final ranking.
* At the technical commission, a change would be made to the fuel specifications (MON value) except for GPs. A new version of the supersport and superbike regulations was planned as well as a revision of the homologation documents. In enduro, the noise level of 94 dB/A was maintained until 1997. The constructors therefore had one year to prepare for the limit of 92 dB/A scheduled for 1 January 1998.
* Finally among the numerous appointments, honorary ones were made for vice presidents Bogdan Matuszak (posthumously) and Ed Youngblood as well as the motorcycling gold medal of merit for His Majesty the King of Spain Don Juan Carlos I.
* A council session was organised on the occasion of the prize-giving ceremony in Seville. It took place on the Saturday morning in the rooms of the Hotel Alcora. The president reported that a meeting had been held in the FIM offices in November with the representatives of the speedway riders (Hans Nielsen and Sam Ermolenko) in order to settle several problems including specifications for the tyres. Then Mr Danis gave a report on the first meetings of the new GP commission. He had also attended a team selection meeting with Mr Ezpeleta in London during which “IRTA had shown its willingness to co-operate with the FIM.”
* The working group responsible for the revision of the statutes was formed. The president had met the new FIVA secretary general, Mr Michel de Thomasson, who had explained that the FIVA wanted to make some modifications to the draft convention with the FIM. The FIM/EPPA working programme had been defined with Dr Schepers. He had indicated that the European Commission was very satisfied with the awareness campaign for young riders conducted in Europe by the FIM and that it was prepared to subsidise other campaigns in 1997. A new contract had been signed with the “Superbike International” group (which had replaced the Flammini Group). The request from this company for marketing purposes to be able to call this supersport world cup “Supersport World Series” was accepted as long as it took on the legal responsibility for this name and as long as the title remained the FIM’s property.
1997: New Statutes, new structure
* The conference meetings took place from 28 February until 3 March at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. The president pointed out that the relations with the FIA were excellent. In Italy, the trial concerning the death of Ayrton Senna had begun. It was the first time that a civil court was called upon to sanction regulations and technical specifications drawn up by a federation. The result of this trial could create a regrettable precedent for all sports and had to be avoided at all costs.
* Concerning the Dorna contract, the CCR president Claude Danis explained that, following a request from the MFJ and in agreement with Dorna, it had been necessary to increase the number of riders for the GPs (25 instead of 24 in 125 and 500, 26 instead of 24 in 250cc).
* As for the individual trial world championship although the companies ESEDOS and RPM had been involved in marketing and TV broadcast in 1996, ESEDOS would manage the TV contract alone in 1997. The situation for the speedway contract would be resolved after the conference with the signature of a four-year contract (1997-2000) with the Danish company Nordisk Films (withdrawal of Airtime).
* The situation in the Czech Republic was beginning to get complicated. The CMF had withdrawn the mandate of the CCP delegate Miloslav Verner (passed to the ACCR who controlled practically all the motorcycle sport activities in the country). The structure of the Hungarian federation had changed, since automobile and motorcycle activities were now separated. In Bosnia, the federation had asked for membership at the Kuala Lumpur congress (1994) then no more had been heard from Sarajevo. Following a communication problem (sic), the Bosnians had just learnt that they were members of the FIM and were very happy about it!
* The management council adopted the denomination “continental unions” according to the habitual geographic criteria for simple practical reasons.
* The management council met for an extraordinary meeting on 21 and 22 June in Geneva. President Zerbi spoke of the meeting held (with the secretary general) with the IMMA president, Tim Hoelter, and the secretary general Nick Rogers, as well as the ACEM secretary general, Federico Galliano, in order to discuss a common policy on legislative and promotional issues. It was agreed that Mr Hoelter would address the general assembly at the Athens congress in order to initiate close and sustainable collaboration between the FIM and IMMA. The president had also taken part in a round table the day before, where the main participants had been Messrs Max Mosley (FIA president), Jacques Rogge (president of the European Olympic committees and not yet the IOC) and Mario Pescante (president of the Italian Olympic committee). This round table had considered problems related to the civil and penal responsibilities of international federations during sporting and non-sporting events. This question had not been regulated but the trial in progress against the FIA following the death of Ayrton Senna had provoked a reaction. It was decided to create a joint FIA-FIM commission, a project already suggested by Mr Claude Danis. Meetings would take place concerning the implementation of this commission.
* In trial, problems were emerging on the subject of certain articles in the regulations with which the riders were not in agreement which had even created a strike during the Belgian event.
* Finally the agreement between the FIM and GPMA was at the stage for signature by both parties. The constructors recognised the international federation as the only authority in all domains concerning sporting and technical questions for motorcycling in general and GPs in particular (sic). The constructors had the right of veto on technical subjects as long as they were unanimous. A GPMA representative would from now on sit on the GP commission.
* The working group for the revision of the statutes presented its project to the management council. It was well received although several points provoked debate during the session. The inclusion of continental unions accepted as was the composition of the new management council: the president and six vice presidents elected by the general assembly, six presidents of CONU ex-officio members of the council, plus the treasurer (task undertaken by one of the vice presidents) would form the council all with voting rights. A discussion took place on the integration of technical members in the sporting commissions. Mr Puig Bulto suggested that the technicians should first consult the CTI in order to avoid any divergence or contradictions in the decisions taken by each sporting commission. It was also noted that the continental unions would at first have difficulties in remaining financially and administratively independent just from income generated by the continental championships. Aid from the FIM had to be foreseen.
* The CER president, Mr Schmidt, raised the project of creating a cross-country rally world cup. A first draft of the regulations had been prepared which still had to be discussed with industry during July. Then, first vice president Ippolito remarked that the CER had not applied equal treatment for Brazil which had forced the organiser to cancel one of the two events planned in the world enduro championship and foot unforeseen additional costs, since teams had threatened not to take part if their transport costs were not covered. A riders’ boycott had only just been avoided after one of the main championship players refusing to be associated with it
* The council met on 6 and 7 September. Vice presidents Ralph Freeman and Jorge Viegas were absent, but two members of the statutes working group prince Tunku Mudzaffar and Mr Henrik Norgaard were present. The CCP president Günter Sorber had taken up his functions again. The statutes working group had studied the proposals and incorporated some of them into the new text. The council in particular approved that English should be the official legal language, except in some cases, that vote by proxy would be abolished, that the system of appointing commission and panel members by the management council upon nominations proposed only by the FMNs, should be retained. Neither the secretariat nor the president were considered bodies of the FIM. The secretary general became the director general. The presidents of the commissions and panels and one of the internal auditors would participate in order council meetings (and could also be invited to extraordinary sessions). The executive board was habilitated to take any legal action or other in the name of the FIM to the courts or other bodies. The role of the commission and panel boards would be defined. The notion of “votes validly expressed” would be modified to read “votes present” for votes and relative majorities relating to decisions.
* The CT president Puig Bulto, once again took the floor and declared himself against all decisions of a technical nature taken only by the sporting commissions. He thought that the CTI should be the only body responsible for technical decisions.
* Concerning the FMNs, the applications from South Korea, Moldavia and Taiwan would be on the agenda for the Athens congress. Two other federations were changing structure: in Croatia the automobile and motorcycling entities were parting company and the federation would become the HMS. In Germany it was the opposite: the OMK and the ONS were merging to form the DMSB. The situation in Tunisia (Moto Club de la Marsa) was not in order on a national level, so the council decided first to suspend all rights for this FMN – then another deadline would be extended until the 1998 congress. In the Czech Republic the CMF had been affiliated to the FIM as the successor to the UAMK. At the time, the ACCR had been in agreement. But since then, this organisation had come to control around 70% of motorcycling events including 11 FIM titles. The ACCR was requesting membership of the FIM instead of the CMF. Finally, the APMF (Asia Pacific Motorcycling Federation) had made an application for associate membership. It was suggested to wait for the new statutes to be adopted which explicitly covered the formation and integration of continental unions.
* The congress took place in Athens, in rooms at the Hotel Divani Caravel in the presence of 62 federations. The council accepted to give more time to the Tunisian federation to put its situation in order. Then they turned immediately to the presentation of the draft of the new statutes which had really been seen twice by the FMNs and included certain amendments which had been proposed – but not all. Some delegates did not agree with the system being proposed (appointment of members instead of election, statute of continental unions, etc). The secretary general pointed out that most of the international federations appointed their members and presidents, that the system of elections did not always give a guarantee in terms of the qualifications and abilities of the candidates, that the commissions were technical bodies which ought above all to be efficient and that the system of continental unions could only be put in place through geographical divisions and not be socio-economic criteria which might be at the origin of conflict. After long discussions the vote was cast: of the119 voting sheets returned, 117 were valid and two were null and void. So the two-thirds majority was set at 78. The result was 81 in favour and 36 against. So the new statutes were accepted.
* New applications for membership (Taiwan, South Korea and Moldavia) were accepted as well as the changes in structure to the federations of Croatia and Germany. A working group was entrusted with studying the situation in the Czech Republic between the CMF and the ACCR and to find a solution.
* Among the amendments accepted to the disciplinary and arbitration code was the introduction of deducting championship points as a means of sanction.
* The need to confirm a decision taken by the TAC by the general assembly was abolished. A right to clemency was introduced giving the management council the possibility to reduce or abolish a sanction. Concerning the elections, the expiry date for all the mandates was 1998, including the mandates underway according to the transitional measures accepted by the general assembly at the same time as the statutes. As in most commissions, the number of candidates was equal to or less than the number of vacant posts, the general assembly decided to elect such members tacitly.
* The IMMA president, Mr Tim Hoelter, addressed the general assembly with an audiovisual presentation explaining the origins and workings of this association and its actions in terms of safety, environment, noise limitation, global harmonisation and urban mobility. He underlined the necessity for close collaboration between the FIM and the constructors.
* In road racing a series of amendments to the regulations were accepted in particular pole position, fixed during the circuit homologation, the ban on refuelling or changing fuel tank after the start of the formation lap, the starting procedure and the clearing of the grid except for one mechanic (two for four stroke machines) and the introduction of a stop and go penalty. Superbike events included the superbike world championship and the “Supersport World Series”. Rider entry would be organised as follows: maximum 24 permanent riders under contract with the promoter, six riders nominated by the NMF and six riders nominated by the FIM and/or the promoter. The starting grid would be determined by the superpole. Mr Flammini had made a presentation to the management council explaining that this “superpole” would be broadcast on TV. He also underlined the need to collaborate in the near future with huge world companies in order to improve the sponsorship of motorcycling events. He announced that SBK International had already undertaken discussions with a world marketing agency whose turnover was around eight billion dollars (sic) with a view to creating a joint venture, which presided over by Mr Flammini himself, could be operational from 1998 onwards. In response to questions, Mr Flammini guaranteed that nothing had yet been decided as to the shares but that SBK International would continue to manage the world superbike championship.
* In supercross a new format would be used from 1997 onwards at the request of Larivière Organisation and in agreement with the organisers. There would be two qualifying races, one consolation race and two finals. In motocross also following a request from the promoter, Action Group, the number of riders qualifying for the 250 world championship was reduced from 40 to 30, travel allowances increased and the number plates could be used for advertising. In cross side-cars, the two cylinder four stroke engines of 1000cc were allowed.
* The CTR decided to change the trial regulations in order to make it more dynamic and more accessible and to try and halt the drop in participants in the world. Basically, in order to get through with zero, the section had to be covered without stopping and with any foot touching the ground (any voluntary hesitation would be considered as a failure).
* In enduro, the introduction of the FIM junior cup for riders under 23 was accepted. In track racing, Nordisk film suggested that the speedway GP should be run on Friday evening instead of Saturday, but the president pointed out that for 1998 that would not be compulsory since applications had been received before this suggestion had been made.
* The technical commission proposed that modifications to the fuel regulations should be the same for all disciplines with alignment on what prevailed in GP. Finally, anti-projectile deflectors for track races would be used from the next season on for safety and in the interests of the spectators, sponsors, television crews and photographers who worked at the side of the track.
* The fair-play trophy was awarded to the Chilean rider Carlos de Gavardo who had helped seriously injured rider during the Paris-Ulan Bator rally.
* The last session of the year took place in Helsinki in the Marina congress centre in the afternoon of 13 December. The president announced that the European Union had recently taken a position to stop tobacco advertising. This directive still had to be submitted for ratification and was to come into force in 2006. The FIM had conducted lobbying activities in order to obtain a moratory which would be sufficient for this type of advertising to be progressively replaced by others. A meeting would be organised in the near future between the FIM and the FIA secretariats.
* The president also informed the meeting that the International Olympic Committee had accorded the status of recognised federation to the FIA. The FIM had undertaken steps in the same direction and a meeting was scheduled for 21 January in Lausanne between Messrs Samaranch (IOC president), Pescante (CONI president) and Messrs Zerbi and Maitre.
* The secretary general announced that the company Larivière had announced that it had not been able to draw up a supercross calendar for 1998. The proposed solution for a world championship for just one event (Bercy) was not acceptable and the council decided that the contract must be cancelled. A request for a financial contribution had been received from “Riders for Health”. The secretariat was charged with founding out about the current projects and the destination of funds given to this organisation. The management council approved the new trial regulations.
* The 1998 prize-giving ceremony would take place in Portugal. The president hoped that the ceremony would take place every year in the same place from 1999 onwards. The continental unions were beginning to be formed (project in Africa, Asia and Oceania). The UEM (Europe) was organising continental competitions for 1998 as well as the ULM. As neither had any judicial bodies, those of the FIM would continue for the moment to arbitrate on disputes on a continental level.
* After a discussion, the council decided to maintain the side-car world cup for 1998, without subsidy from the FIM. The subject would be discussed again for 1999.
1998: New Statutes, new Management Council
* The annual conference took place from 27 February until 2 March. The president welcomed the council members and in particular honorary president Nicolas Schmit and wished a speedy recover to the CJI president, Peter Soche, who had been taken to hospital recently – he would pass away a few days later. The president announced that the IOC executive commission had unanimously accorded the FIM the status of recognised federation during its session on 30 January in Nagano during the winter Olympic Games. The president and the secretary general had had a meeting with the IOC president, Mr Juan Antonio Samaranch in Lausanne in December, to officially present the FIM’s application. Mr Zerbi believed that this recognition would enable the federation to reinforce its prestige throughout the world.
* “Superbike International” had ceded 50% of its shares to the company IPG (Interpublic Group of Companies) a world leader in marketing, whose turnover was close to three billion. The FIM would soon have to sign a new contract with “Superbike International”, which would be valid until 2006.
* The European Commission was taking an interest in sport and in particular international federations managing these sports. A meeting had been called by the IOC for 24 March to resume the situation with the federations concerned. The secretary general gave a summary of the situation of continental unions. The ULM and the UEM had been recognised by the FIM since Athens and were already organising their own championships and issuing their own regulations and racing licences. In Asia, 15 federations had meet in Bangkok to create the Asiatic union. The president was the Thai Thongchai Wongsawan and the first drafts of the statutes had been drawn up. In Oceania, the Australian and New Zealand federations had joined together to form the Oceanic Union. The African union was in the process of being formed with draft statutes. But as for North America no information had been received to date (sic).
* Concerning the contracts in force, the contract signed with Nordisk Film for the speedway was only for one year instead of the four initially planned. It might have to be cancelled altogether since Nordisk had suffered heavy financial losses the previous year in spite of efforts to modernise the sport. The contract with Larivière for the Supercross had been cancelled in Helsinki. The secretariat had received two proposals: one submitted by Action Group and the other by the company Moto Motion (which took care of the “Pro Superbike” in Germany); the CMS was more in favour of Action Group “a known FIM partner who was accepted by the teams”. The federation had received an offer from the organisers of the Intermot show in Munich to be held in September 1998 for a stand to present motorcycling disciplines and activities. The vice president Dieter Junge announced that the DMSB had decided to take part and that a form of co-operation with the FIM could be found. The president proposed to accept this solution given the lack of time to prepare a stand just for the international federation.
* The extraordinary council session took place on 4 and 5 July, not in Geneva, but in Verona, upon the invitation of the Italian federation.
* The new superbike contract had been signed and was valid until 2006. The company was now named “Octagon Motorsports” and the president emphasised the substantial increase in annual amounts paid by SBK International. The president announced that a change of shareholders had come about after the purchase of Dorna Promocion del Deporte by CVC Capital Partners, a venture capital fund.
* The secretary general announced that the new statutes had been re-read and corrected by Anglo-Saxon lawyers, independent of the CIES, and this had caused longer delays than scheduled. These texts would be send to the FMNs and to delegates for any comments. Then they would be printed in the form of a booklet before the Cape conference. The FIM internet site had been launched on 19 June. It represented the equivalent of 5000 pages of A4 in each version (French and English). This site required constant updating and implied an increase in human resources requirements. The collaboration of the federations was indispensable for updating event results. Sections devoted to the FMNs and delegates would be created at a later date so that access to internal information could be provided.
* The executive board had taken certain decisions since the conference meetings, in particular the modification of the procedure for the superpole in superbike if the track was wet, the participation of 1200cc four stroke, four cylinder side-cars in the side-car world championship and the replacement of the superbike round in Brazil by an event in Kyalami.
* A letter from Nordisk Film cancelling the speedway contract had been received at the FIM a week after the 30 June deadline. The outcome was that the contract was renewed until the end of 1999.
* Following the 1997 prize-giving ceremony when three riders had been absent (Stéphane Peterhansel, John Kocinski and Damon Huffman), it turned out that one of them did not have a valid excuse. Stéphane Peterhansel had signed a contract in August 1997 for a winter trophy and was not able to cancel. It was decided to forgo a fine and to ask the rider to take part in a road safety campaign organised or supported by the FIM where he would offer his image and his fame. It should be mentioned that the fine inflicted on Mick Doohan for his absence in Las Vegas had been cancelled by the CCR, since the information surrounding the circumstances of his absence had turned out to be completely accurate…
* The matter of building a fast food outlet next door to the FIM offices had moved on. Taking into account the opposition, the company appeared to have abandoned the project. The council mandated the president and the secretary general to begin discussions with the owner to purchase the land. The council also approved for a financial contribution for “Riders for Health”, an association which bought and maintained motorcycles as a means of transporting medicine in the regions of Africa where access was difficult.
* The new FIM statues and internal regulations included the drawing up of internal regulations for the management council’s remit. The financial regulation was a project designed like a compendium (sic) covering the daily management of federation funds and internal administrative procedures. The CT president highlighted the concerns of his commission concerning the working methods of the future international technical panel. He proposed that the CTI could meet in a plenary session during the annual conference and congress. The president proposed to discuss this point during the September meeting and asked the CT president to attend the meeting scheduled for 29 August at the Austrian A1-Ring with industry and the SBK representatives in order to discuss new technical regulations.
* In this period of close relations with the IOC, the management council session took place in Lausanne on 5 and 6 September in the auditorium of the Olympic museum. The director of relations with national Olympic committees and Olympic solidarity, Mr Pere Miro gave a welcome message on behalf of the IOC president.
* The president began with a report of the meeting between the FIM and the superbike manufacturers which had been held on 29 August at the A1-Ring (Austria). Everyone had reached an agreement concerning the new technical regulations which would come into force in 2001. The main point was the introduction of racing kits, subject to FIM homologation. Everything was covered in the draft regulations: updating, special racing version, sales of parts, etc. The quantities of machines for homologation remained the same but the constructors taking part for the first time would benefit for the first year from special homologation conditions concerning the number of units to be produced. This was an attempt to facilitate access to the championship for small constructors. The engine capacity and minimum weight (162 kg) remained the same.
* The supercross contract, valid until 2004, was on the point of being finalised with Action Group. It included exclusivity for TV rights, merchandising and marketing, a bank guarantee adapted each year, progressive income for the FIM and an amount for each FMNR. The council gave its agreement for signature.
* The programme for the congress in the Cape was discussed again, in particular the role of internal auditors and the running of the international technical panel which was integrated into the sporting commissions but still had to meet to ensure there was co-ordination between the members and to take decisions on general subjects which concerned every discipline.
* According to the new statutes, there would from now on only be a congress every two years, alternating with a kind of mini congress called the biennial session over four days (management council, commission and panel meetings over one and a half or two days, council session for half a day and general assembly). This session was to take place in a city close to Geneva, probably Annecy. The prize-giving in Estoril was to be broadcast by Eurosport. The secretary general announced that Action Group was proposing to organise the ceremony each year in the same city, for example, Nice or Cannes. The New Zealand federation was also a candidate for the ceremony in 1999 – as well as the AMA.
* The president of the CER announced that the cross country rally world cup would be launched in 1999 with the calendar to be approved by the council. The president of the CCP submitted the 1999 ice racing GP calendar for prior approval. The GP system had been introduced in spite of the absence of a promoter and TV contract but with the organisers’ agreement.
* For the first time in its history – and four years later than originally planned, but with no problems – the FIM congress was held on African soil at the tip of the continent at the Hotel Intercontinental Cape Sun on Capetown. The new statues came into force on the same day. Three federations were accepted as new members: Turkey (TOMSFED), Israel (MEMSI) and the United Arab Emirates (UAEMC). All the continental unions were also officially recognised by the general assembly: ULM (Union Latino-Americana de Motociclismo, with Mr Pedro Venturo as president), UEM (Union Européenne de Motocyclisme, with Mr Jean-Pierre Mougin as president), UAM (Asian Motorcycle Union, with Mr Thongchai Wongsawan as president), AMU (African Motorcycle Union with Ms Beaulah Schoeman as president), NAMA (North American Motorcycle Alliance with Ms Marilynn Bastedo as president, the word union would soon replace the word alliance) and UOM (Oceania Motorcycle Union, with Mr Darryl Hiddle as president). The presidents were ex-officio members of the management council. Mr Francesco Zerbi was re-elected FIM president with 111 votes. Messrs Dieter Junge, Vito Ippolito, Andrzej Witkowski and Jorge Cabezas were elected vice presidents.
* The world conference on doping in sport would take place in Lausanne from 2 to 4 February 1999.
* The Chief Executive Officer – the new title of the secretary general according to the statutes – indicated that the sporting code and disciplinary and arbitration code should be revised and corrected in line with the new statutes.
* On Saturday 24 October, the president announced to the general assembly the appointment of commission and panel presidents: Wolfgang Srb (CMS), Ignacio Verneda (CTR), Renzo Giannini (CCP), Robert Rasor (CMT), Giancarlo Pasini (CIE), Clotilde Galy (CJI), Hans-Robert Kreutz (CMI) and Oriol Puig Bulto (CTI) were appointed for a period of four years. Claude Danis (CCR), Paolo Sesti (CER) and Geoff Wilson (CML) were appointed “in charge of presidency”.
* Then the financial regulations were approved. For the next congress, Portugal had applied provisionally for 2000 (no news from Argentina), Indonesia and Ireland for 2002 and France, officially for 2004, the FIM centenary year in Paris.
* The council approved for the “Supersport World Series” to become a world championship from 1999 onwards.
* In motocross the fact that unleaded fuel had to be used in the world championship was posing problems. The Americans were using special fuel. Similarly noise limits in the United States were higher than those permitted by the FIM. Concerning noise control after the race, any rider whose bike exceeded the limit would be penalised by a minute.
* In speedway GP the races for 1999 would take place on Saturday except for Sweden (Friday). The qualifying system was modified. The first ten riders from the previous year’s ranking as well as the winner of the intercontinental final and the winner of the continental final would directly qualify for the next season. The twelve other riders from the GP final ranking (places 11 to 22), six riders from the intercontinental final (places 2 to 7), five riders from the continental final (places 2 to 6) and the winner of the junior final would take part in the “Grand Prix Challenge” and the top ten from this would qualify for the GPs the following season. The company Nordisk Films remained the TV promoter for the 1999 season. The speedway team world championship would be organised in a different form with five riders per team.
* The permanent GP board (Messrs Zerbi and Ezpeleta) met at the FIM offices on 16 November and proposed some modifications for the regulations which would be submitted to the GP commission for comments and a subsequent decision from the board for the 1999 season. Among other things: all the fuel samples should remain in the possession of the FIM. Samples A are sent for analysis to a laboratory chosen by the federation. The same procedure will be followed should the rider request a counter check of sample B. Time limits were fourteen days for the announcement of the result of sample A, two days for the rider to request a counter check and fourteen days for the announcement of the result of sample B. The race direction would be made up of four members: an FIM representative (Claude Danis), a Dorna representative (Roberto Nosetto), a rider representative (Franco Uncini) and a representative from IRTA (Paul Butler). They would be authorised to make decisions during practice and the race and these decisions could be appealed against with the FIM stewards except for the stop & go procedure and the black flag. The head of the FIM stewards would be former CCR president, Luigi Brenni.
* On Friday 11 December in Estoril (Portugal) on the eve of the prize giving ceremony to take place in the casino, a management council meeting was held, followed on the next day, the prize giving ceremony for world champions for the 1998 season took place in Estoril casino, in the presence of a record number of the general public (more than 600 people). The time of the ceremony had to be delayed until after the dinner, because Lisbon airport was closed for fog and several riders had to land in Faro (220 km to the south) and then come by road! At the time of the press conference (17h30) only half the champions were there.
1999: Legal monsters and four stroke engines
* The president had reduced the number of management council sessions to ordinary sessions during the conference meetings and the congress or the biennial session and one extraordinary meeting was held in the month of June. If necessary the council could meet at the prize giving ceremony since all members were present, but that would not prove often to be the case. As for the executive board, it would function using modern technology: electronic mail and teleconferencing to resolve issues quickly and effectively.
* The conference meetings took place between 26 February and 1 March at the hotel Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza.
* The motocross contract was extended until 2006, as discussed in Estoril and included the 125 and 500 classes from 2000 onwards. The progressive introduction of triple GPs would begin in 2000 and would therefore “enable the CONUs to organise better quality continental championships”.
* The president and the CMI president, Hans-Robert Kreutz, had attended the world doping conference in Lausanne. The president indicated that the document published by the IOC at the end of this conference was not acceptable in its current state and constituted “a legal monster”. In fact he believed that the minimum sanction of two years set by the IOC, but still subject to exceptions which were not yet defined, was not a satisfactory solution. The FIM and the FIA had decided to submit a draft common declaration relating to the anti-drug policy which would be presented during the IOC executive commission meeting on 20 March. The president stressed that the current difficulty was in obtaining recognition in a civil court of a decision taken by a sporting tribunal.
* There were many changes to the GP regulations and they had just been finalised. The changes related to the race direction (four persons), who would make the first decision, the FIM stewards: if the stewards confirmed the race direction decision then the matter was closed. If the decision was not confirmed, an appeal was possible to the CDI. Only the TAS could be consulted excluding ordinary tribunals. The FIM had the possibility to protect its interests or explain its position on the basis of a summing-up.
* The number of wild card riders per GP was modified. Among a large number of changes, the fuel specifications were determined: suppliers of fuel and oil had to provide samples for analysis before the start of the season so that a chromatographic outline could be taken which would serve as a reference throughout the season. Any oil or fuel not corresponding to this outline would be considered as not conforming. Finally anti-doping controls would be applied at the GPs like in other disciplines.
* Still in GPs, the president announced that the GPMA wanted to introduce four stroke engines but that all the technical aspects were not yet settled. It was also obvious that confusion should not be created between the GPs and superbike. The president indicated that all the promoters would be consulted, because all the disciplines were concerned – especially motocross. If, after the planned meetings, general agreement had been obtained, and if the industry confirmed its wish to invest in four stroke engines and was in a position to fill the starting grids, the date of coming into force would be 2001.
* In track racing, “Nordisk Film” would be responsible for the speedway GP broadcasts in 1999. Negotiations were underway with a British company for a contract between 2000 and 2004 and an option until 2009. This company could also take over the ice racing world championship.
* Concerning the matter of the adjacent land to the FIM buildings, the fast food option seemed more and more unlikely, but the federation was still interested in purchasing the land. Talks were continuing with the owner, since the commune was not interested in a purchase.
* At the commission for mobility, transport, road safety and public affairs, the president confirmed that the FIM would take part, including financially, in an ACEM study on motorcycling accidents (MAIDS). At the medical panel, the president explained that the different international sporting federations applied a tolerance for marijuana of 12 or 15 nanogrammes per millilitre. The CMI had consulted an IOC laboratory and decided to apply the level of 12 corresponding to passive use – but they would soon move to 15ng/ml.
* The management council was in favour of the project submitted by “Riders for Health” and suggested that the FIM should propose a status of specialised association to them (ex-associate member).
* The FIM had been invited by the European Commission to take part in the European sport gatherings held in May 1999. Meetings covered the following themes: TV rights, European sport models and doping. The president and the chief executive officer had both attended.
* The chief executive officer announced that negotiations with the owner of the land neighbouring the FIM had ended in around 1800 m2. In the first instance, this land would be used for a car park, then a second building was planned since the first was virtually at full capacity.
* The speedway contract had been signed with “Benfield Sports International” after arduous negotiations for a period of five years covering all the rights (TV, marketing, promotion) of the speedway individual world championship (GP), the team championship, the “Grand Prix Challenge”, as well as an option on ice racing. The standard bank guarantee clause had been replaced by a transfer by BSI prior to the start of the season of the sum corresponding to the prize money for the riders. This contract would be presented to the press by the president and BSI representatives in Wroclaw during the Polish GP on 3 July.
* The Association of international federations recognised by the IOC (ARISF) of which the FIM was a member, had asked the FIM to submit development projects which could be subsidised by the IOC. The executive secretariat had transmitted this information to the CONUs requesting them to submit their projects in the given timeframe.
* SBK International had forwarded a proposal concerning the promotion of the world endurance championship to have the rights per round so that the various organisers including some classic events could get better media coverage.
* In trial, Mr Verneda indicated that during the session held in Catalunya with the constructors, the question of “trial, Olympic discipline” had been discussed. The idea of organising a demonstration event in Sydney was not possible and it was planned to try and hold it in Athens in 2004.
* The 2000 congress was confirmed for Portugal at Vilamoura but there was still no candidate for 2002.
* So the first biennial session took place in Annecy in France, 45 km from Geneva, from 21 to 24 October 1999 with one single session of the general assembly (Saturday 23), commission and panel meetings on 22 and 24 and the management council on 21 and the morning of 23.
* Then in a normal session, the president announced that he had accompanied the director general to Sportel, the fair which attracts representatives from major television and sports marketing companies, as well as international federations to negotiate distribution rights. * Concerning the issue of four stroke engines, the president had written to the GPMA president (Mr Claudio Castiglione, the president of the Cagiva group), defining the conditions required for the FIM to accept four stroke engines. According to existing agreements, the constructors should inform the federation of all changes they wanted to introduce while keeping in mind that these changes should not create confusion between the GPs (prototypes) and superbike (production machines).
* The second international conference for public affairs had taken place in Mulhouse the previous weekend and had been a success with around a hundred participants.
* Then Mr Flammini came to explain to the council projects for the world endurance championship. The teams had been informed of them during a recent meeting in Paris and were in agreement. According to Mr Flammini it was a question of raising the level of the championship, improving team organisation, developing and managing the pass system, managing the TV rights leaving the four main promoters (Suzuka, Spa, Le Mans and the Bol d’Or) the national TV rights and finding new sponsors. The contract would run for three years. The council gave its approval.
* Fifty three federations were present at the opening of the general assembly. According to the statutes proxy voting was no longer allowed.
* The general assembly awarded the status of specialised association to “Riders for Health”. Its director, Mrs Andrea Coleman, expressed her thanks after describing the association’s activities.
* In road racing the proposal to restructure the endurance world championship by making it a team championship rather than for riders was provisionally withdrawn because it still had to be discussed (it would come into force in 2001). It was a consequence of constant changes in the team line-up and the designation of the world champion who would race with the number one plate the following season, mostly if he changed team or team-mate (if he was also a champion…) And the teams believed that the title belonged to them too just as much as to the rider.
* An FIM ladies trial cup was officially created for the 2000 season. It would take place on the occasion of the trial des Nations as well as individual FIM junior trial cup which would be held in the framework of the trial world championship.
* The prize giving ceremony took place in the Hotel de Paris in Monaco. Action Group, the promoter, also wanted to organise a “Winter Moto Week 2000” at Sestriere (Italy) with the world champions and other guests.
* The 2000 congress would take place from 15 to 22 October at Vilamoura in Portugal and would go to Prague for 2002 following an invitation issued by the Czech prime minister to the president during the GP in Brno.
* A session of the executive board was held at the Hotel de Paris in the afternoon prior to the prize giving ceremony in Monaco with Messrs Zerbi, Cabezas, Maitre and Moser in attendance (Mr Ippolito was absent). The chief executive officer announced that the organisation of this prize giving ceremony by Action Group was going to end up with a considerable loss for them taking into account the difficulty in ceding all the TV rights for this event to interested sponsors.
Photos FIM Archives - Caption from top to bottom:
-1 Troy Corser, 1996
-2 John Kocinski, 1997
-3 Mick Doohan, 1994-98 World Champion
-4 Doug Lampkin, 1998