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  Saturday, 13 April, 2002, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Mosley issues tobacco warning
Rubens Barrichello's Marlboro-sponsored Ferrari
Ferrari are one of several teams with tobacco backing
Countries could lose their Formula One races if they introduce tobacco advertising bans independently before 2006.

That is the warning from motorsport boss Max Mosley, whose FIA organisation has agreed to stop all tobacco advertising at the end of the 2006 season.

He said it was "completely futile" for countries to ban advertising at their Grands Prix because they would still be receiving television from other places that allowed it.

"The only effective elimination of tobacco sponsorship would be on a worldwide basis, honouring the worldwide date.

Countries which do not observe the 2006 date risk a gap where they perhaps wouldn't have a Grand Prix
Max Mosley
FIA president

"Anyone who doesn't stick to the worldwide date risks getting themselves into a situation where they don't have a Grand Prix but for no purpose.

"So all common sense and rationality dictates that we should have one date throughout the world," said Mosley.

"We believe that it is essential that if a ban comes in it be on a worldwide basis.

"If you start banning tobacco advertising in individual countries it is like trying to push the air out of a mattress - it simply goes somewhere else as far as the Grands Prix are concerned," said Mosley.

"Countries which do not observe that date risk a gap between whenever they bring in a ban and the worldwide date of 2006 where they perhaps wouldn't have a Grand Prix and that's never in anybody's interest."

Date adopted in some countries

Mosley is hoping that European Union legislators will accept 2006 as the cut-off date when they meet to discuss the issue in Strasbourg next week.

"There is a hearing in the European parliament on Monday on this whole question and at the moment the proposal from the EU is that there should be a final ban on 1 July 2005.

"We are going to suggest that the EU adopt the world date, which is the end of the 2006 season. That date has already been adopted in certain countries, for example Australia.

"It is really in everybody's interest that everyone observes that date," said Mosley.

See also:

13 Dec 01 |  Formula One
Belgian Grand Prix faces axe
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