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French threaten F1 TV coverage

The French government is making life very difficult for tobacco and alcohol sponsors and, if this policy continues, it could have a profound effect on the Ligier F1 team, which is largely funded by the Gitanes Blondes cigarette brand. Up to now the French have merely banned tobacco and alcohol signage within France but have not stopped cigarette and tobacco advertisements being beamed into France from abroad. In recent weeks a new policy has been adopted with foreign events being taken off the air. This has caused the cancellation of TV coverage of an important European soccer match between Britain's Arsenal and France's Auxerre which took place in Belgium and, last weekend, the rugby-mad French were deprived of the Five Nations Cup showdown between France and England. If the same standards are applied this weekend, the Brazilian GP will not be screened in France. If that happens, French coverage of all 16 Gps must be under threat, which means that there is no point in Gitanes Blondes investing its money in order to reach the French market. And if that happens, Ligier is in big trouble.

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