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APRIL 2, 2003

FIA intends to take legal action on EU

The FIA announced today that they are planning to take the European Commission to the European Court of Justice in a bid to prevent them bringing forward the plans to outlaw tobacco advertising, which is presently due to come into effect July 31, 2005, and restore the original date of October 1, 2006.

The European Commission Directive 98/43/EC, which banned tobacco sponsorship in all sports taking place in the EU, was passed in 1998, but exempted international sporting events (including Formula 1) until October 1, 2006.

The FIA has been supporting a worldwide ban on tobacco sponsorship on this date, working with the World Health Organization, national governments that host events and the teams in anticipation of this date.

When the European commission adopted a proposal for a revised Directive to replace the annulled 1998 Directive, it caused concern for these groups because it moved up the implementation date to July 31, 2005.

The FIA has thus decided that the only way left to fight for the original date is to legally challenge the EU Directive.

The grounds on which the FIA intends to argue the case are:

- The Community had given economic operators a legitimate expectation to be allowed until the end of 2006 to find alternative sponsors.

- The Community has failed to state the reasons for altering the implementation date and the Directive its therefore void in whole or in part.

- The inadequate consultation leading to the adoption of the Directive is a breach of an essential procedural requirement.

- The measure is disproportionate to its stated aims of fostering the internal market and preserving public health because it will force events out of the EU, causing economic damage and resulting in European viewers simply watching F1 events carrying tobacco sponsorship broadcast from outside the EU possibly beyond original date for a world-wide ban at the end of 2006.