The World Council meets tomorrow

The FIA World Motor Sport Council meets in Paris tomorrow and although there are no major items which are on the agenda, it is thought quite likely that the council, which has not met since December, will return to the thorny issue of the European Union's attitude towards tobacco sponsorship.

Little has been heard on this issue since December when the FIA sent a letter to the European Health Commissioner David Byrne, attacking the Commission's decision to ban tobacco sponsorship from July 31, 2005 and saying that the actions of the Commission are "gratuitous and irresponsible".

The FIA argued that the European Union's original plan was to ban all tobacco advertising in Formula 1 in Europe on October 1, 2006 and asked for an explanation as to why this step had been taken. Byrne replied to Mosley in January saying that the letter was "both inaccurate and, if I may so, unsporting". He blamed the FIA for failing to get an amendment through the European Parliament and said that he did not believe that "the FIA needs to place the blame for managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at everyone else's door".

Mosley replied that he would still like an explanation of why the date of implementation had been changed and warned the Commissioner that teams are "legally bound to observe tobacco sponsorship contracts which do not expire until the end of 2006" and that the consequences of this will be the loss of more European F1 races.

Since then nothing has been heard from either side and the WMSC may be an opportunity for the issue to be raised again.

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