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SBD Global/January 20, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone Says He Will Return To Series' Board After Trial

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that "he will return to the board of the company which runs Formula 1 following his indictment on bribery charges in Germany," according to the BBC. He said, "The minute the court case is over I'll be back on the board again." Ecclestone "is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust and will be obliged to appear at his trial, which Bavaria's district court says is likely to start in late April" (BBC, 1/17). In London, David Charter reported Ecclestone’s trial on bribery charges "will be overseen by the judge who jailed a banker for receiving payments from the Grand Prix billionaire." Judge Peter Noll "presided over the conviction of Gerhard Gribkowsky for corruption over the sale of Formula One, telling the court in Munich that the banker appeared to have been 'led into crime'" by Ecclestone. Gribkowsky "was sentenced to 8½ years in jail in 2012." Noll’s office said Friday that "he would head a panel of judges" weighing Ecclestone’s case (LONDON TIMES, 1/18). Also in London, Daniel Johnson wrote F1 "has arrived at a crossroads." Ecclestone "no longer signs the cheques, which surely marks the beginning of the end for this chapter of the sport’s history." And while the glitz and glamor of F1, as it globetrots between immaculate, multimillion-pound venues, "might indicate that it is in rude health, it belies a sport in urgent need of renewal and reform, as it struggles to keep pace with its international competitors in the battle for global appeal." Ecclestone "is a fighter and is unlikely to simply fade away." But regardless of whether he survives this latest saga, F1 "is a sport in need of reform." The question of "who will lead and champion that reform, and what direction it will take, still needs to be answered" (TELEGRAPH, 1/18).
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