THE VOICE OF CONSCIENCE IN THE MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
It was founded in 2013 as a response to growing concerns relating to the way Youthstream – the FIM’s chosen promotional rights holder – was running the series and the circumstances in which their commercial agreement was awarded in 2003.
"It would be easy to say that they are anti-Luongo, but more accurately they are pro-motocross." - Motocross Action Magazine
Our reasons for releasing this information into the public domain were simple and unambiguous. We believed that the global motocross community – encompassing riders, teams, manufacturers, event organizers, sponsors, media outlets, national governing bodies and fans – had a right to know. We harbored hopes that it would give teams, manufacturers, sponsors and other industry-level participants the impetus to hold Youthstream and the FIM to account, ask awkward questions and press for change. For reasons known only to those key stakeholders, they collectively balked at the opportunity to use the information – all of which constituted verified facts – to their advantage, preferring instead to maintain the status quo. That’s not to say that the teams and industry-at-large disagreed with us or condoned the actions of those tasked with running the championship and overseeing the sport: we received numerous messages of support and praise from within the GP pits for the stance taken by MXGP Action Group. But having previously been divided and conquered by Giuseppe Luongo (a man who forced the disbanding of MXTAG, the short-lived body which collectively represented the teams in the mid-2000s), the GP circus of 2013 lacked a cohesive voice powerful enough to a) question the actions of the ringmaster and b) demand better conditions for the performers. There should have been apoplexy. Instead, there was apathy.
We also had hopes that the motocross media would pick up the story and run with it. A few did – we will forever be grateful to Jody Weisel at Motocross Action for his unwavering support – but most didn’t. We will forever see them as cowards, unwilling to bite the hand that feeds them but only too happy to criticize us for exposing some very uncomfortable truths. Principles don’t put food on the table, but they do help people sleep better at night. To be clear, we’ve never suffered bouts of insomnia from forming MXGP Action Group.
The immediate post-publication period was interesting. Within a few hours of the website’s launch Mr. Luongo sent a panicked email to the teams, in which he denied any wrongdoing had occurred, clumsily attempted to justify historic decisions, drifted into a pompous summary of his career achievements (none of which we've ever disputed) and then injected some unnecessary drama by speaking of blackmail (which we've never done, although others may have attempted in the past without our knowledge). There were healthy and passionate debates on fan forums across the world. Social media lit-up with comments. Our email account was deluged with an immediate outpouring of support and offers of truly fascinating information on subjects which we weren’t previously aware of. We were championed by supporters of the sport, and although we appreciated it at the time – and still appreciate it now – we didn’t create MXGP Action Group in the pursuit of glory. We just wanted change. And we wanted it for the many, not the few. While this may sound idealistic, evidence exists which shows change has come over the last 5 years. Crazy Youthstream proposals – such as moving to a single class format (with 250cc four-stroke machines only) or introducing superfinals – have rightly been kicked into the long grass, hopefully never to resurface. Teams and manufacturers have become involved, to a certain degree, in decision-making. A track safety advisor, Rui Gonçalves, has been appointed. These are all positive steps, and while they fall short of what we wanted to achieve, something is better than nothing.
We are not claiming sole credit for these and other changes. We were, and always will be, just a modest cog in a much bigger machine. However, we do believe that the emergence of MXGP Action Group meant that the decisions and actions of Giuseppe Luongo and Youthstream were being openly questioned for the first time rather than being implemented unchallenged. In the weeks and months post-publication, we took satisfaction in seeing that Mr. Luongo was finally compelled to realize that he could not run amok with the sport without someone raising a dissenting voice of concern. Nonetheless, there remains plenty of room for significant improvement, both on-track and off.
So why have we decided to return in 2018 with this new website? In truth, we never went away (although the original website did, but we can assure you this was not for any sinister reasons). MXGP Action Group's core members have remained within the motocross fraternity, quietly observing developments and simultaneously conducting continuous research which builds upon the original body of evidence gathered prior to publication in May 2013. These things take time. Having completed another comprehensive analysis, we believe it is now appropriate to release this update, as sufficient fresh material has come to light which underscores the wrongdoing at the point when the promotional rights contract for the Motocross World Championship was awarded in May 2003. We have taken our original story and augmented it substantially. Those of you with good memories will recognize the facts which we first presented in 2013: the details regarding the share transfers remain indisputable. What differs is our expanded knowledge of the decisions taken within the FIM in the period prior to the agreement being signed. We’ve also been able to fit into the jigsaw certain pieces of the puzzle that we had in 2013 but didn’t know where to place, which has given us a much clearer picture of the companies and individuals involved. As per the original investigation, all the new evidence we’ve uncovered currently resides in the public domain. Whether it remains there is beyond our control.
Above all, we want to maintain an accurate and permanent record of the details behind Youthstream’s promotion of the Motocross World Championship, and ensure the information remains available to those who might be interested in the future. The contract was awarded by the FIM under wholly inappropriate circumstances and allowed certain individuals to benefit financially from an agreement which should never have been signed. Despite their names no longer appearing in the list of Youthstream shareholders, these same individuals may still be enjoying lucrative benefits on a covert basis. Their avarice and arrogance has caused untold damage to our sport. They must be held to account for their actions, as the passage of time does not heal the wounds inflicted or make underhand activities any less unethical, unscrupulous, amoral or scandalous. The truth hurts.
Yours in sport,
MXGP Action Group
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