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Todt has ‘no desire’ to seek re-election as FIA president

Jean Todt, president of FIA, portrait during the FIA Motorsport Games (Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Jean Todt has insisted that he has no desire to extend his reign as president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) beyond the end of his current term, despite calls from within the organisation.

Todt (pictured) was re-elected as FIA president in December 2017 after standing unopposed for the position and his current term will run until the end of 2021. He has held the role since 2009.

The FIA has a presidency age limit of 75 – the age Todt will be at the end of his current term. The age limit would seemingly rule him out of running for an extra term but a number of FIA officials have called for him to extend his reign due to the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges it has caused.

FIA vice-presidents Angelo Sticchi Damiani and José Abed have proposed to “freeze” the upcoming elections so that Todt can serve for an additional two years until the end of 2023, according to L’Équipe.

The two vice-presidents have encouraged other FIA members to support the move, with Todt viewed as “the best person to guide [us] in these dramatic times towards a safer future”, according to a letter cited by L’Équipe that has been sent by the pair to motor sport club members worldwide and national automobile associations.

It is reported that Mohammed Bin Sulayem, president of the Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates and a potential successor to Todt, has requested that his name be removed from a letter appearing to support Todt’s re-election.

Not all members are supportive of the move and feel the FIA should adhere to its own statutes, with Marat Abykayev of the Kazakhstan Automobile Federation having stated that freezing the elections would “damage the reputation of the FIA”.

Todt himself has moved to distance himself from calls for his re-election and has previously said he would not be interested in extending his term. A spokesperson for the Frenchman told L’Équipe that Todt had “no desire to extend his mandate beyond the end of 2021 and that he would have no action, at the next FIA general assembly, aimed at modifying the statutes that he himself wished and had adopted”.

Only the aforementioned Bin Sulayem is said to be in the running to be Todt’s successor, although he has not officially declared his candidacy.