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Old 05-07-2008, 04:01 PM
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Giving the FIA a bad name...

No, not Max Mosley's shenanigans in a London basement. There is a far more serious issue of public image facing the FIA. One that has the capability to undermine the very foundations of the organisation.

Sebastien Loeb doesn't shave enough. Absolutely despicable behaviour from the 4 time World Rally Champion and hero to many. I don't know how he sleeps at night; anyone would think he was free to be able to style his facial hair any way he saw fit. Thankfully the FIA have been on the case and recommended that the TV companies don't show any lingering close-ups of Loeb for fear of bringing the sport into disrepute, thus saving rally fans from Loeb's hideous visage.

Full story...

Originally Posted by The Times
Consorting with prostitutes on video may or may not be a private matter, but the governing body of world motor sport knows what really hurts its image: a driver who forgets to wash and shave.

That was the indignant conclusion in France after news that Sébastien Loeb, its reigning world champion rally ace, has been taken to task for his unkempt appearance by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.

Just before Max Mosley, the FIA chief, was exposed while enjoying his exotic soirée, Morrie Chandler, the head of its rally division, endorsed a complaint over the unkempt appearance of Loeb, 34.

The driver from Alsace, who has been world champion for the past four years and is one of the biggest stars in rally history, has recently adopted longer hair and stubble.

Mr Chandler wrote in an e-mail, according to le Figaro newspaper: "The same thing happens in football and other 'virile' sports. Of course such people are an insult to real men." To avoid bringing the sport into ill-repute, Mr Chandler asked the FIA's television body to limit the air time given to scruffy winners and avoid close-ups.

The FIA, which runs Formula 1, rally and other motorsports, seems to have double standards, said le Figaro and other commentators. The paper commented: "How can one of its most senior figures criticise a driver for his appearance when President Mosley refuses to consider that the sexual scandal in which he is implicated . . . to be damaging to the institution which he directs?"

Alain Pernot, rally correspondent for Sport Auto magazine, called the attitude of the FIA ridiculous. "It is all the more out of line at a moment when Mr Mosley is claiming the right to eccentric sexuality. Sébastien Loeb does not wear swastikas and does nothing that shocks good morals," he said. The remark was an allusion to the alleged Nazi overtones of Mr Mosley's sex session.

Mr Chandler, a New Zealander, took up a complaint from Surinder Thatthi, the head of African motor sport, who was upset by Loeb's appearance on the podium after winning the Mexico rally. "When the FIA gives global TV cover towards millions of viewers and children, he is a hero and a model . . . He is going too far," Mr Thatthi was quoted as saying.

Simon Long, the head of International Sportsworld Communications (ISC), which holds the FIA broadcast rights, disagreed with Mr Chandler, according to le Figaro. He insisted that Loeb's "handsome tough look" was just what rally needed in order to attract fans to a "real and rough" sport.

Mr Chandler replied: "If, according to your experience his behaviour and appearance sell (rally), then so be it."

The affair was all the more surprising because Loeb, a national hero, has no reputation for rowdiness and is admired as one of the world's top all-round drivers. Luc Augier, rally writer for Auto Moto, said: "There is a contrast between his very courteous, polite, ideal-son-in-law nature and the rather casual hippy look that he has recently adopted. The FIA should be looking at its president instead."

Mr Mosley's fate will be decided by a secret ballot among the 222 voting members of the FIA at an extraordinary general assembly in Paris on June 3.
source: Sebastien Loeb's long hair and stubble causes more of a row than Max Mosley - Times Online

The mind boggles.
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