RAC questions FIA membership over lack of transparency

In an intriguing turn of events, Britain’s Royal Automobile Club motoring club has questioned the value of their membership in the FIA. As a founding member of the FIA and a club since 1897, RAC’s chairman Tom Purves offered a scathing commentary in a letter revealed by The Sunday Telegraph’s Christian Sylt:

“there is a lack of the narrative or detail in the FIA accounts that one would not expect of an international entity, or UK entity. This may be because they are prepared in a way that meets merely the minimum standards required of a French, not-for-profit organisation.”

“as a chairman responsible for the deployment of members’ funds in an appropriate manner, I question the value we receive from our membership fee”. He queries two costs in particular: “Personnel expenses of €6.1m and €8.3m for travel, missions and conferences.”

FIA’s Nick Craw rebutted Purves by saying the RAC was,

“was duly represented at the general assemblies relating to the accounts for 2010 and 2011” and had raised no questions. “Moreover, the accounts were approved by a show of hands and were thus also approved by your club,” he says. “I am therefore curious as to the reasons and timing of your questions.”

“The costs indicated in the FIA accounts reflect the salaries and social security contributions for those staff.” He notes: “Our accounts… are audited by PwC, one of the largest audit firms in the world and their certification of our accounts is without reservation, which confirms to our members the strictness and quality of our bookkeeping.”

It’s an intriguing clash of words as the FIA is understood to have recently inked a deal with Formula 1’s management in what is believed to be the Concorde Agreement increasing their revenue substantially.

It costs money to provide regulatory oversight for multiple motorsport events and that is not without acknowledging but since Jean Todt took the helm as FIA president, he’s done a very good job of driving fees and revenue up. As a not-for-profit organization, it is, however, important to have transparency as to where those residual fees from clubs and motorsport regulatory fees are going.

The RAC is a legacy club and good standing and if they are questioning the whereabouts of member dues, suffice to say other clubs may be wondering the same thing.

It also bears noting that this fall is election time for the FIA presidency and Todt faces opposition from David Ward who, perhaps, symbolically represents a contingent of supporters of former FIA president Max Mosley. Ward was a long-time lieutenant of Mosley.

Regardless, €14.4m for travel and personal expenses is a bunch! Mr. Todt is certainly traveling in style.

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