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  1. ITV Report

FIA: 'No conflict of interest' in sale of Formula 1 to Liberty Media

Formula 1 will have new owners when 2017 season gets underway in March. Credit: PA

The governing body of Formula 1 has hit back at "clearly inaccurate" and "malicious" claims that it suffered from a conflict of interest in its approval of the sale of the sport to an American media firm.

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council unanimously approved the sale of the sport's commercial rights by CVC Capital Partners to Liberty Media last month, but questions were raised after it emerged that the FIA held a 1% stake in the sport meaning it stood to gain $80 million from the takeover.

Damian Collins MP, the Chair of parliament's Culture Media and Sport Committee, told ITV News the sale amounted to a "severe conflict of interest".

He wrote to the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, to ask her to investigate.

Chase Carey (left) has replaced Bernie Ecclestone as F1's chief executive. Credit: PA

However in a statement on Thursday, the sport's governing body said "there is no conflict of interest on the part of the FIA" and it "would naturally be happy to demonstrate the absence of any conflict of interest to any competent authority that may so request."

It added: "As per agreements made in 2001 for 100 Years, the FIA could only have withheld its consent in the event that the change of control would materially alter the ability of the commercial rights holder to fulfil its obligations.

"It is obvious that the taking of control of the Formula One Group by Liberty does not create such a risk, and nobody has ever suggested a different view in this respect."

In an interview with ITV News last month, the new boss of Formula One, Chase Carey, said he is comfortable with the fact that the FIA is in line to receive money after waving the deal though, and denied it amounts to a conflict of interest.