Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told a meeting of motorsport's governing body, the FIA, that Burma's recent elections and slow steps towards democracy "seriously harms" Rangoon's bid to host a round of the world championship.
With Bahrain getting the go-ahead after a glowing report from disgraced former Metropolitan Police chief John Yates of the Yard, it was thought that any regime that didn't clamp down on opposition politicians and a free press and indulge in kidnap, arbitrary arrest, torture, tear-gassing of protests and extra-judicial killings would not be a welcome stop-off for the F1 circus.
"Bahrain exemplifies everything we wish to reflect in the sport", a spokesman for Ecclestone told us after the meeting, "and anyone wishing to be a part of the sport has to adhere to those ideals. Frankly, Burma are going exactly the wrong way about it. There are reasons that we're in China, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Malaysia and Bahrain and reasons why we're going to Russia in 2014".
Existing hosts of races are also under pressure to apply similar principles with Britain jailing people for posting messages on Twitter and Facebook and the USA maintaining it's record of executing it's citizens, but others are under pressure to do likewise. "Frankly", said the spokesman, "if Belgium don't start locking people up for no reason, then we'll drop them for Saudi Arabia or Swaziland as soon as look at them".
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