After an internal vote at its annual General Assembly, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has opted to continue using the Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA) as its Canadian affiliate. This means the FIM did not accept the competing bid from the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC), despite the CMA losing the majority of the initial vote.
The FIM is the world’s biggest governing and sanctioning body for motorcycle racing. With roots all the way back to 1904, the FIM has members from 111 countries. The FIM manages 65 world championships, including motocross, roadracing, enduro, trials, rallies and track-style (grasstrack, speedway, etc.). If racers in these disciplines wish to race at an international level, or at a national or regional level outside their home country, they typically have to clear the way by obtaining clearance through the FIM.
The FIM is also involved in non-competitive promotion of motorcycling, through rallies and other activities. For Canadians, a good analogy might be the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Roughly speaking, what the AMA does at the national level, the FIM does at the international level (and the AMA is an affiliate of the FIM).
The Canadian situation
The problem in Canada is that most of the country’s high-level racing is actually sanctioned and governed by the MCC, not the CMA, which can create issues when Canadian racers want to leave Canuckistan and race elsewhere. It also creates issues for race insiders and fans who want to bring high-level competition to Canada. And, generally speaking, the motorcycle industry is not happy with the CMA.
That’s how the MCC came to be, in the first place. Displeased with the direction the CMA was headed, industry insiders and other members of the motorcycle community founded the Motorcyclists Alliance of Canada in 2004, which soon changed into the MCC. Not only does the MCC sanction most of the country’s serious racing, it’s also involved with advocacy and other roles the FIM conducts.
Working out a solution?
With two national organizations both intended to do the same thing, there’s inefficiency in the system in Canada. This is particularly noticeable in the racing world, and racing insiders working with the MCC feel this is part of the reason Canada lags in the international racing scene. The CMA has a strong presence in the trials riding scene, but it’s much less active in high-level enduro, motocross or roadracing.
For a while, there were attempts by the industry to join the MCC and CMA to combine efforts. That didn’t work out. As a result, the MCC approached the FIM, and asked to be voted in as the Canadian affiliate, replacing the CMA. This would require two separate votes; first, the FIM would have to remove the CMA from its current role, and second, the FIM would have to vote the MCC in as the CMA’s replacement.
Down to the wire
When the vote occurred at the FIM’s teleconferenced general meeting on January 29, 2021, 59 percent of the FIM’s voting delegates were in favour of ousting the CMA. However, to make the change, the FIM requires a 2/3 majority. With the vote 43-19, and 11 members abstaining from the vote, the MCC was unable to reach the required support.
This isn’t going away anytime soon. Since the MCC itself was founded due to dissatisfaction with the CMA. this controversy has been going on basically since even before the MCC’s founding (here’s a story from the CMG archives from almost two decades ago, in the earlier days of this scrap). The MCC apparently intends to continue pursuing this issue, and will no doubt attempt to replace the CMA again at the next FIM general meeting, by the sound of this interview with CSBK’s Colin Fraser. It sounds as if there’s considerable support both inside and outside the FIM to make this happen, so the MCC is likely not motivated to give this up anytime soon.
As per the CMA, it says: “All services for Canadian riders seeking any FIM licencing concerns are being carried out by the CMA as usual along with all other FIM duties.” For now, if you want to deal with the FIM in Canada, you still work with through the CMA.