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MENAFN Press - 03/02/2013

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(MENAFN Press) The Middle East and North Africa can play an important part in shaping the future of motor sport on a global basis as its focus moves away from Europe, says a comprehensive report to be released tomorrow.

It delivers a six-point plan aimed at increasing the region's total number of competitors, officials and volunteers, and the number of motorsports events, by 20 % by 2015.

And it says one of the keys to success will be a firm commitment by MENA's 22 national motor sport authorities to work together to create a new generation of national heroes, backed by funding from the FIA, the world governing body.

The report was commissioned by FIA Vice President Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who will present it at tomorrow's assembly in Doha of the national motor sport authorities (ASNs) now united within the MENA FIA administrative region,which was established in 2011.

FIA President Jean Todt will be among those to receive copies of the report, having accepted an invitation from Sulayem to attend the meeting.

"The starting point from a regional point of view must be to ensure that 100% of the ASNsin the region are active through running motorsport events that are appropriate to the country concerned," said Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE.

"This will require a tailored approach from the FIA Institute and FIA Sport in terms of funding, and the transfer of knowledge, in an appropriate and effective manner.

"More focus needs to be put on the development and promotion of drivers and 'national heroes' in a cost effective manner. A better balance in this respect,verses the training of officials, is needed going forward from the FIA."

The report lays out a six-point strategy for the sport's regional development, with the following main highlights:

Promotion and development on a national level - each ASN to create a plan todevelop and
promotemotorsport within its own country.

Regional development - incorporating the ' adopt a club ' concept whereby a strong ASN
Mentorsa weaker club.

Driver development - seeking FIA Institute agreement and funding to run a MENA Academy
from 2014 and encouraging all ASNs to nominate a young driver.

Regional governance“requestingFIA Sport to gather annual core data on competitors, events
and officials and share this benchmarking data with regional Vice Presidents.

Events development - encouraging the FIA to appoint a promoter for the FIA Middle East
Rally Championship, as well as developing a regional, low cost karting proposal and ensuring
Broad TV coverage

Training of officials - aimed at increasing the total number by 20% in 2015.

"Successful local and regional events, with local drivers competing and winning,coupled with strong media promotion to gain public interest and support, will be the key to growth,," said Sulayem.

"While this report is focused on developing motorsport within the MENA region, it is important to recognise that MENA, like other developing regions in the world, will play an increasingly important role in the FIA going forward.

"This is due to the fact that as the traditional base of the FIA, Europe, will decline in terms of overall population and increase in its percentage of retired people. In contrast, MENA is projected to have growing young population going forward."

Added Sulayem: "Motorsport is still at its very early stages of development in this region compared to Europe. The entire MENA driver and official population is below that of a small to medium sized, mature European motorsport market.

"This represents a tremendous opportunity for growth, in particular from the countries with the largest populations, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran."

The report - 2013 MENA ASN Survey & Development Recommendations “ highlightsthe effective evolution of the governance of motorsport in the region.

A decade ago the only forum was a meeting of the six Middle East Rally Championship hosts to discuss rally regulations.

In contrast, tomorrow'sassembly, taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha,will be attended by senior officials to discuss the future of motorsport across 22 countries.

The countries are Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.

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