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NOVEMBER 26, 2004

ITV loses a big F1 supporter

Brian Barwick, the head of ITV Sport, has left the TV channel to become the new head of the Football Association. The FA looks after the development of soccer in Britain and is the governing body of the sport in the UK.

"Brian combines a great understanding of football and an excellent business pedigree," said British Sports Minister Richard Caborn.

But the news is not good for ITV which is currently facing the possibility that unless the British laws change that the ITV coverage of F1 could be blacked out after July 31 next year because no-one is willing to face charges for showing tobacco logos on British TV even if the races are being held in countries where tobacco advertising is allowed. With a general election in the pipeline the government cannot easily reach some form of settlement with F1 because of the potential for a scandal similar to the one in 1997 when there were accusations that Bernie Ecclestone influenced government policy with a donation to the Labour Party. Everyone involved denied that this was the case but the scandal left a bad taste in the mouths of all concerned.