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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Briatore May Be Going Nowhere!

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Guardian/Jamie Jackson - Lawyers say Flavio Briatore may be free to stay involved at Queens Park Rangers• Former Renault chief's Formula One ban is de facto only• Reports suggest he may take legal action against FIA
Even if the Football League deems the disgraced former Renault Formula One team director Flavio Briatore to have violated its fit and proper person test, he may remain as co-owner and chairman of Queens Park Rangers. Legal experts told the Guardian that it is "not cut and dried" that the League's regulations would allow it to remove Briatore.

The Italian resigned from Renault last week, after the driver Nelson Piquet Jr's admission that Briatore had ordered him to crash at last year's Singapore grand prix, in order to boost the chances of his team-mate, Fernando Alonso. Yesterday in Paris, the FIA found that Briatore should be banned from Formula One for life.

However, the Italian was no longer with Renault when the governing body held its hearing, and so no longer fell under its jurisdiction. This meant the FIA could not ban him directly. Instead, it ruled that anyone associated with Briatore would not be licensed.

"There is a question mark over whether he's actually been banned. What the FIA have done is threaten not to sanction anyone engaging Briatore or allow them to take part in any FIA-organised championships or events," said Jonathan Brogden, a partner in the City sports law firm Davies Arnold Cooper.

"So Briatore may be able to claim he, personally, has not been banned. As regards the fit and proper person test, one of the things you have to declare is that you've not been banned by a sports governing body from involvement in the administration of that sport.

"The question arises as to whether Briatore has actually been banned from the administration of Formula One. All we've got to go on at the moment is the press release and that strongly suggests that Briatore himself is not banned from being involved. It's a de facto ban but it's questionable as to whether it's a personal ban."

This view was echoed by Paul Gilbert, a leading sports lawyer who advised the Australian umpire Darrell Hair during his action against the International Cricket Council in 2007.

"I wouldn't have said that it is cut and dried because the League [regulation] is clearly aimed at finding against an individual following a proper process where evidence as been heard, a judgment has been arrived at and that person has the opportunity to appeal. In relation to Briatore that hasn't happened, he hasn't been heard on this. He resigned."

The Italian reportedly said today that he is considering legal action against the FIA. If the League decides that Briatore fails its fit and proper person test, he would have to sell his share of the ownership of QPR, as well as stand down from any executive position with the club. If he was not to do so, QPR would face exclusion.

Brogden said: "If QPR don't exclude him or remove him as a director and the Football League consider him not a fit and proper person then its ultimate sanction is to exclude QPR from all competitions. They would need to go through a process, which includes the service of notices

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Mail - Flavio Briatore ponders legal action in bid to clear his name over Renault crash scandal
.' Mail

Yann Tear/London Informer - QPR closing ranks around Briatore
." London Informer

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Rob Huges/New York Times September 23, 2009 - Briatore Poses a Problem for English Soccer http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/sports/soccer/23iht-SOCCER.html?_r=1&hpw=&pagewanted=print

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