IMG Severs Links With Ailing A1GP

A1GP has suffered another huge blow after IMG Media curtailed its rights partnership with the crisis-hit motor racing series. IMG Media confirmed that it had “terminated its deal to market A1GP’s worldwide media rights with immediate effect", citing A1GP’s struggles to meet scheduled deadlines this year. “It is a regrettable but unavoidable decision as despite continued assurances A1GP has been unable to commit to IMG’s deadlines and have therefore rendered the contract untenable," the statement added. “IMG Sports Media continues to wish A1GP every success for the future during this difficult time."

Last month, V8 Supercars executive chairman Tony Cochrane hit out at IMG over its role in the collapse of A1GP’s event on the Gold Coast in Australia which was the first scheduled race of the season in October. The 2009-10 A1GP campaign was then thrown into further turmoil when the Chinese and Malaysian rounds were postponed. Cochrane, whose V8 Supercars series had to expand its involvement in the SuperGP to cope with A1GP’s withdrawal, asked for answers from event manager IMG. The State Government paid in the region of A$1.8 million of a total $11 million contribution for the SuperGP to A1GP before its withdrawal.

The funds passed from the Gold Coast Motor Events Company and then to IMG before being passed on to A1GP. Following the cancellation, A1GP World Cup of Motorsport chairman Tony Teixeira announced that A1GP would pay back the $1.8 million plus donate $50,000 to a Gold Coast charity as a sign of good faith. However, Cochrane last month told “What exactly is IMG doing to collect the $1.8 million? They (IMG) have a huge office in London so it should be a piece of cake to door-knock Tony Teixeira. They kept telling us they were in 'daily contact' with A1GP before the Gold Coast event. I really want to know when that money will be returned but I think IMG don't want to talk about it." IMG spokesman and SuperGP general manager Greg Hooton said the matter is currently with a team of lawyers.

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