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France still without a Grand Prix

THE French Grand Prix remains without a place in the 1998 FIA Formula 1 World Championship - despite French government moves to change the law relating to the broadcasting of sporting events. The FIA has an exclusive TV rights deal with the TF1 channel but a French court had ruled that all the French television channels should be entitled to broadcast the event. The FIA response was to cancel the French GP until the government sorts out a compromise.

French Sports minister Marie-George Buffet has been working to arrange a decree to modify French law over the TV coverage of sporting events, but that was rejected recently by the French Council of State, which rules on constitutional matters. The government is planning to draft new legislation in January.

The FIA says that the Grand Prix will not be reinstated until the law is passed while Buffet says that there was no deadline when she discussed the problems with FIA President Max Mosley. France likes to think of itself as the spiritual home of Grand╩Prix racing and seems to think that it has a divine right to a race.

"I am convinced that a solution can be sorted out," Buffet said, "but first thing, we must have the race back on the calendar. Last year the race was reinstated in April and I have every hope that it will be back in the calendar at the end of January."

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