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Todt: Sport should not be involved with politics

NEWS STORY
22/06/2021

FIA president, Jean Todt believes that sport should not get involved in politics.

His comments come at a time many are questioning the decision to take Formula One to Saudi Arabia and other questions the countries with human rights issues that the sport already visits.

Speaking ahead of this year's season opener in Bahrain, one of several nations observers claim the sport should not be visiting, Lewis Hamilton said: "There are issues all around the world but I do not think we should be going to these countries and just ignoring what is happening in those places, arriving, having a great time and then leaving".

As pressure on the sport to either boycott those nations or at least speak out, out-going FIA president, Jean Todt believes that sport should not get involved in politics.

"It's something which is very dear to my heart," said the Frenchman. "And since now five years I'm very much involved with the UN as secretary general special envoy for road safety.

"If you see the high level panel I made on road safety, you have Michael Ellison, a former high commissioner for human rights," he continued. "You have Michelle Bachelet, who is the actual high commissioner for human rights. You have Filippo Grandi, the high commissioner for refugees. So in a way, it's a privilege I have to be discussing with them.

"Yesterday Stefano (Domenicali) came to visit me, and I had Jacques Toubon, former justice minister who has been until last year in charge of human rights in France, and I spoke with him about that. Everybody is in favour of having races wherever around the world. I mean, we are a sport.

"It's also something I discussed very often with the International Olympic Committee, with Thomas Bach. Because they have the same problem. And clearly we consider that sport should not be involved with politics."

In terms of human rights, he said: "We need to engage with NGOs... and I mean, good NGOs, like Human Rights Watch, who are proper people, to try to say, what kind of contribution we can give? So we are working, we're working on that.

"You can interpret the way that it helps you," he added. "In my opinion, going in those countries gives also the chance for people who are negative about the country to speak, which probably they would not have otherwise. So, as I said, it's a lot of question of interpretation. But, for me, I feel right."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Steve 666, 25/06/2021 21:50

"Yet F1 have allowed Hamilton to were his BLM clothing, do a Black Power salute and pressure other drivers into this kneeling nonsense but Todt now somehow says there shouldn’t be politics in F1 but then he is French."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Lapps, 23/06/2021 8:13

"Come in guys, don’t knock the pre-race cringe-fest. It gives a perfect break for a trip to the bathroom and to grab a beverage just before the race!"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 23/06/2021 2:01

"For those who are interested the CATO Institute has produced a definitive list detailing 'Human Freedoms' by nation. That takes into account 'personal. civil and economic' freedoms. Those nations outside the top ten and who host F1 races are as follows,
Japan 11th.
UK & US 17th
France 33rd.
Mexico 86th.
Brazil 88th.
Russia 115th.
Turkey 119th.
China 129th.
Saudi Arabia 151th.

So to be consistent with those who wish to implement bans we should not race in any of these countries, if being outside the the top ten is accepted as a starting point. Straightaway we will have ten races less and for what gain? Will these bans change any of the countries political decisions? There are no gossamer winged beings at the bottom of the garden.
"

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4. Posted by kenji, 23/06/2021 1:23

"All political elements should be banned from F1. F1 goes to a circuit to race cars not to tell hosts how to run their country. That should be it. It's only the amateur politicians /woke left trying desperately to link a country's political status to events that are far removed from the alleged internal malfeasance. Refusing to hold a race in any of the countries with alleged human rights wrongs means zip. Will the world rise up against them when they find that F1 is not going to race in any of these places. I mean 'gee whiz'. The cringeworthy pre race spectacle is a prime example."

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5. Posted by stackvideo, 23/06/2021 0:27

"Now what did Bernie say? "follow the money" "

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6. Posted by stoney, 22/06/2021 22:13

"Jean says sport should not be involved with politics.
And yet we have Lewis wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, in a ceremony of taking the knee?"

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7. Posted by meatball, 22/06/2021 19:50

""Give the people in that country the chance to speak"??? I'm pretty certain that if you dare speak out in Saudi or in Russia, bahrain or UAE, that's the last your family will ever hear of you. no. the FIA, if the really want to make a stand, hits them in the pocket. And publicly. "we have removed these from the calendar due to gross human rights atrocities". They have been very vocal on equality - they have a chance to do something about it instead of just talking."

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8. Posted by Roli, 22/06/2021 16:41

"I didnt realise that he is "out-going FIA president". If you ask me, not before time. He is chin deep into politics himself. Maybe he should run for French President....."

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9. Posted by C5, 22/06/2021 16:01

"What a lame comment from Todt. Sport has been politics in all large known civilizations, not to mention tribal interactions since the dawn of man.

Just look at the corrupt election campaign Todt himself ran to become president of the FIA. Pure politics."

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10. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/06/2021 14:38

"By allowing various nasty regimes including Saudi & China to host GPs, Formula 1 implicitly admits them into civilised society. I'm sure I don't need to remind people how the Nazis used the Olympics to promote themselves & their vile ideology. Intentionally or otherwise, allowing our Sports to be hosted by such regimes offers them superficial, but undeserved legitimacy.

Formula 1 is far from unique in ignoring unpleasant facts it doesn't want to face. The upcoming World Cup has been mired in sleaze & the stadiums built by "indentured labourers" from poverty-stricken nations. This is only possible because of "politics" - primarily those of the host nation."

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11. Posted by kenji, 22/06/2021 13:06

"Forget all the flim flam, a simple statement of compliance is all that it needs. 'Politics has no place in F1'. That's it.Solamente..

"

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12. Posted by USA1, 22/06/2021 9:53

"If I wanted to watch BS politics I would watch the news, leave politics out of F1 please race your race and that’s the only race no BS please, this year it’s finally nice to be watching the fight for first place again so please don’t screw it up with Politics !"

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13. Posted by Editor, 22/06/2021 9:29

"@ miktrikus@gmail.com

Totally agree, which is why we reported his comments without any comment of our own."

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14. Posted by miktrikus@gmail.com, 22/06/2021 9:23

"So, by Todt, this is NOT politics??
He says:
"We need to engage with NGOs... and I mean, good NGOs, like Human Rights Watch, who are proper people"

NGO is the essence of modern politics!
Having races is not, but THIS yes, it is PURE politicking, blatant and disgusting as he looks to coordinate FIA actions with NGOs.
He is ignorant or trying to fool us.
"

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