Could motorsport be BANNED in the EU?


The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) is warning that the wording of an amended European Union directive could result in the banning motorsport inside the EU.

The amendment relates to the Motor Insurance Directive. It determines that all operation of a motorised vehicle has to be covered by a blanket level of unlimited third party liability insurance cover.

The amendment follows a judgement in 2014, where a gentleman named Mr Vnuk in Slovenia went to court regarding an incident when a reversing tractor and trailer knocked him off a ladder.

Given the tractor moving the trailer was being used as a machine rather than a mode of transport that was on the road at the time, it was up for debate as to whether Mr Vnuk could claim on the policy connected to the Tractor. This case raised the question of a base-level EU-wide third party cover. The resultant directive is thus now known as ‘Vnuk’. 

The directive states all cars and indeed all motorised moving machinery should have ‘third party liability insurance policy, valid for all parts of the EU on the basis of a single premium’ and ‘obligatory minimum amounts of cover which such insurance policies must provide’.

Translated, that means whatever you’re driving, wherever you’re driving in the EU, there is a minimum level of cover for that vehicle – even if it’s off the road.

The intention of this seems noble enough. It means you can drive across borders in your car without any questions about your cover. Accident claims should be as cut and dry across European countries as they are within a single country and if there’s an incident off the road, a la Mr Vnuk’s, the cover remains.

So what’s the issue?

The Motorsport Industry Association isn’t suggesting that this directive is directly targeting motorsport. The issue is the difference in the nature of motorsport insurance compared to conventional road user policies.

In short, the MIA warns that there simply aren’t currently any motorsport insurance policies that would comply with how the new regulations are worded… which could result in no cover and, as a result… no racing allowed.

The MIA aims to stop that from happening. How? By campaigning for amendments, and for motorsport businesses to coalesce to put pressure on the EU commission. MEPs and representatives of EU governments are due to vote on the amended directive in December.

The MIA is thus urging all motorsport stakeholders to make noise before that deadline in December. The aim is to push through some level of exemption or a change in wording. Talk of such a change in wording has been ongoing since ‘Vnuk’ came to light over three years ago. 

“This is a genuine, serious threat to all EU motorsport,” said Chris Aylett, MIA’s CEO.

“No one involved in motorsport – companies, employers and organisations can afford to ignore this. A strong clear message, demanding the text be amended, must be sent NOW to MEPs and European governments.

“If the new EU MID is unchanged, the unintended consequence of this legislation would [be the] end of a sport enjoyed by millions, close down tens of thousands of motorsport-related businesses and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, across the EU.

“This sounds unbelievable but unfortunately, it will happen if we fail to act now!”

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