Scandal-hit Mosley insists 'I am going to stay and fight'

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The Independent Online

Beleaguered FIA president Max Mosley yesterday continued his campaign to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the world, while vowing to continue in his role until 2009.

Having arranged to visit this weekend's Jordan Rally – amid allegations that he has been told he will not be welcome in either Spain or Monaco for the upcoming grands prix – the 68 year-old put his side of the sex scandal which has rocked Formula One.

On 3 June, the 222 voting members of the FIA will take part in an extraordinary general meeting to vote by secret ballot whether Mosley, who has recently been likened to Robert Mugabe, should stand down. So far he has resolutely refused to do so.

"The fundamental reason," he said in a self-justifying interview in the Sunday Telegraph, "is that the people who elected me, the presidents of all these clubs worldwide, a number of them have written, and for every letter I've had from a club president saying 'I think you should step down' or ' I think you should consider your position', I've had seven, slightly more than seven, who said 'you've absolutely got to stay, don't give an inch'.

"It would then be impossible to turn around to all these people, the great majority, and say, 'No I'm going to walk away', even if I'm inclined to. But my inclination is to stay and fight."

In his BBC Sport column over the weekend, Red Bull driver Mark Webber said: "The current scandal has brought the sport into disrepute. Whether we like it or not, all of us in F1 are role models, and F1 simply cannot have scandals of this type."

Predictably, Mosley has ignored that and been dismissive of "a few ex-drivers," who have called for him to stand down. But men such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss, Niki Lauda, Damon Hill and Jody Scheckter have done rather more for their sport without bringing it close to disrepute and thus have more than valid opinions. It is this arrogant tendency to deride his critics that sporting insiders believe may eventually be Mosley's downfall. Meanwhile, he remains steadfast that if something is not harmful to others, it is acceptable.

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