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Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 17:37 UK

Mosley hits back in war of words

Max Mosley
Mosley has said he will step down as FIA president in October 2009

World motorsport chief Max Mosley has hit back at automobile clubs calling for him to quit as FIA president, saying most of them still support him.

Twenty two clubs have called on him to quit ahead of next week's vote of confidence that follows lurid allegations about his personal life.

But Mosley insisted he had no intention of stepping down before the vote.

He said that other clubs are "overwhelmingly in favour of my remaining as president".

He continued: "I therefore had no choice but to submit the question (the vote) to the FIA membership as a whole. I certainly could not have simply ignored the majority and resigned."

The vote of confidence will take place at an extraordinary general assembly in Paris next Tuesday.

The clubs calling for Mosley's head said in a letter that his refusal to step down could damage the sport's governing body.

"The FIA is in a critical situation. Its image, reputation and credibility are being severely eroded," it read.

But Mosley, whose term as FIA president does not expire until October 2009, insisted their "suggestion of a 'crisis'" was "nonsense".

Every additional day that this situation persists the damage increases

Group of 22 automobile clubs

Using a motoring pun, he added: "Although I am personally embarrassed and greatly regret that this affair has become public, no-one fails to call for roadside assistance because of it."

The FIA comprises motorsport and motoring bodies from 130 countries.

Mosley, the son of British Union of Fascists founder Sir Oswald Mosley, was accused of taking part in a "Nazi-style orgy" with prostitutes by the News of the World.

He has apologised for any embarrassment, but denies his actions had Nazi connotations and has launched legal action against the newspaper.

Mosley has said he will not reapply for another term beyond 2009, but in their letter, the contents of which were revealed on the website, the 22 clubs demanded he should leave his post as soon as possible.

"We strongly believe that the only respectable way forward for the FIA, and for yourself, is to have an orderly transition, with an immediate agreement and your commitment to step down," the letter states.

"Every additional day that this situation persists, the damage increases. There is no way back."

The letter was signed by representatives from America (AAA and AATA), Singapore (AAS), Germany (ADAC), Finland, (AL), Canada (CAA), Brazil (CCB), Denmark (FDM), France (FFA), India (FIAA), Japan (JAF), the Netherlands (KNAC), Sweden (M), Hungary (MAK), Israel (MEMSI), Austria (OEMTC), Spain (RACC and RACE), Belgium (TCB) and Switzerland (TCS).

Mosley has, meanwhile, refused a compromise deal allowing him to stand down in November, proposed by a senior body of the FIA - the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism - which would guarantee him victory in next week's vote.

That has further enraged the clubs, who have accused Mosley of putting his own interests ahead of the FIA, adding they "deeply regret" his refusal to accept the compromise.

But a defiant Mosley has described the suggestion as "the worst possible solution".

He added: "I would have resigned, yet still spent the summer carrying out all the day-to-day work with neither the time nor the authority to complete the major outstanding tasks.

"Better to stop immediately than accept this muddled compromise."

see also
Mosley aims to stand down in 2009
20 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley scandal 'has disgraced F1'
19 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley future hinges on key vote
09 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Defiant Mosley takes on critics
05 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley sex scandal 'may cost F1'
06 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Defiant Mosley vows to fight on
01 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Pressure mounts on Mosley to quit
04 Apr 08 |  Formula One
FIA to hold Mosley crisis meeting
03 Apr 08 |  Formula One

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