Câmaras to seek compensation over rally cancellation.jpg

Câmaras to seek compensation over rally cancellation

SEVERAL POLITICAL figures from areas affected by the cancellation of the 2008 Lisbon-Dakar rally have criticised the organiser’s decision and are asking for compensation.

Portimão Câmara President Manuel da Luz said today (Friday) that he will ask Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) for the 1.5 million euros so far invested in the event by the Câmara.

“The Câmara’s lawyers are studying the contract in order to demand a return of the investment made by the council to receive the rally in Portimão,” he said.

The Câmara President also said that it was a “strange” situation because “allegedly it has to do with the death of French tourists that happened around a week ago”, adding: “I hope it is not a question of politics between the French and Mauritanian governments”.

António Ganhão, the President of Benavente Câmara near Lisbon has said that he understands the risk that the participants could face and why the organisers decided to cancel the event, but will be asking the organisers for the money invested to be returned.  

“Everything that we had negotiated with the Dakar rally was in place, from the land for meeting points, musical entertainment, transport, toilet facilities, a giant tent among others, an investment around 30,000 euros for which we must be compensated for,” said António Ganhão.

The Portuguese rally driver Carlos Sousa said that all of the competitors were disappointed with the cancellation and criticised the ASO for not consulting the drivers or exploring all of the possible alternatives first.

“The teams weren’t heard before the decision was made”, said Carlos Sousa. “The rally should have at least gone to Morocco.”

Pedro Pinto, vice-President of the PSD political party, has, however, said he supports the organiser’s decision to cancel the event.

“If there are security problems, then the cancellation of this edition of the Lisbon Dakar rally was a good decision,” he said. “You cannot play with security, in any way. The lives of thousands of people cannot under any circumstances be put at risk.”

The race, organised by the France-based ASO, had been due to start in Lisbon, Portugal, tomorrow (Saturday) and finish in Dakar, Senegal, on January 20 before being cancelled because of security issues and al-Qaeda threats.

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