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Eurocare continues F1 alcohol sponsorship attack

NEWS STORY
05/12/2014

European group seeking ban on alcohol sponsorship in F1 continues its attack despite FIA's attempt to distance itself.

Following the European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) open letter to Jean Todt last month, in which the group called on the sport to address alcohol sponsorship, the FIA president responded claiming that while the sport has strict anti-doping rules, which include the use of alcohol, the management of the commercial rights of F1 have been licensed to the and that the candidate teams manage their own rights.

Citing Eurocare's fears in terms of the association between F1 and alcohol, Todt wrote: "I would remind you of the FIA's commitment to road safety, through the "Action for Road Safety" programme of which I have made a priority since my election in 2009, a programme which of course includes a dimension relating to the prevention and penalising of drink-driving."

This clearly didn't hold any water with the group's Secretary General, Mariann Skar, who has followed up on her previous letter.

"There seems to be a contradiction between the FIA's 'Action for Road Safety' programme and your reluctance to take any action on alcohol sponsorship in Formula One," she writes. "You state that the FIA has “no part at all in the management of the commercial rights of the Championship which have been licensed to the promoter”. However, the FIA still has responsibilities both as a shareholder in the Formula One business and regulator of the sport.

"FIA has recently received a 1% shareholding in the F1 business worth an estimated $120 million. This means that you still have an interest in the commercial issues affecting the championship and arguably a responsibility to take some action on the issue.

"The European Commission estimates that 25% of all road deaths in the European Union are alcohol related and there is growing evidence of the negative role of alcohol sponsorship of sport and its impact on young people. Even the terms of voluntary marketing codes are not being respected and alcohol companies are using sponsorship and social media to promote their brands in ways that fail to adequately warn of the dangers of drink-driving and which even promote risky driving. A recent example is the Johnny Walker promotion in the United Kingdom of a 'driving master class' with a Formula One driver. I hope you agree with me that this kind of promotion is wholly inappropriate.

"In these circumstances the FIA should surely adopt a strong policy commitment to halt alcohol sponsorship in motor sport. In response to the similar issue of tobacco sponsorship the FIA previously issued a recommendation in support of a ban and endorsed the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The FIA could issue a similar recommendation supporting the call for a ban on alcohol sponsorship.

"It is very welcome that the FIA supports the efforts of both the European Union and the United Nations to reduce road traffic deaths and serious injuries. But your efforts in this regard will lack credibility if the FIA fails to take appropriate action to discourage drink-driving which as you know remains a major cause of road fatalities worldwide. I would, therefore, encourage you and the FIA membership to take a stand and demonstrate moral leadership on this issue."

Clearly, a case of, to be continued...

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by karel, 08/12/2014 10:11

"With pensioners earning 750 000 € a year for doing nothing, maybe they can do something about that, and leave the sport at ease"

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2. Posted by Paul C, 07/12/2014 21:32

"Eurocare sounds like a real busy body organization. Ms Skar needs to go get a real job somewhere in the EU because we have enough social justice oriented busy bodies in the USA and North America. Please be quiet Marianne. The FIA doesn't need it's own Carrie Nation, and Prohibition did nothing good for the USA unless you count the Kennedy family and other bootleggers. F1 and the FIA have enough problems with Bernie and FOM. I'm truly happy that Williams has found a sponsor that has allowed them to be competitive without taking money from a dictator. "

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3. Posted by Chris Roper, 06/12/2014 7:04

"If only 25% of all road deaths in the European Union are alcohol related shouldn't we be encouraging the 75% who a coursing most of the problem to have a drink and relax as well."

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4. Posted by marltoro, 05/12/2014 17:41

"Well Marianne Skar should also remember that the member states all allow the sale of alcohol within their borders so there is nothing illegal in the sale and promotion of alcohol within the borders of the EU and that all governments profit considerably by heavily taxing alcohol sales.

Should any action by the EU affect the financial viability of the commercial aspects of the FIA formula One world championship then perhaps the EU should consider that they would be responsible for the financial implications of their actions for the event promoters and the commercial rights holder.

It is time the social influence agitators became responsible for their actions and the financial implications became a burden to them or release alcohol from the sales tax levied against them.

It would be a small thing to stop alcohol advertising if Eurocare and the EU would commit itself to funding the promoters costs. If each of the races within the EU were supported by a Eurocare campaign through event sponsorship in paying the event fees of each of the European events for a five or ten year period.

If Eurocare supported the events in this way it would be a responsible use of the taxes levied against the producers and sales of the products. Four hundred million euros a year for 5 years for naming rights at the European GP's would not be a huge burden on the EU considering how much is taken in tax revenue, and would do a great deal towards promoting their concerns directly if they regard the sponsorship of teams as a concern to them. that would only be 2 billion over 5 years, surely a sum Eurocare should consider well spent considering its social concerns. "

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5. Posted by Jonno, 05/12/2014 16:18

"Every couple of years the anti-alcohol lobby raises it's head and attempts to force changes on the majority. The interweb has allowed them to combine into a larger group, but the story is the same. A few noisy people making a fuss totally out of proportion to their numbers. Take a look at their website and you'll not see any information about the number of members they have or how they raise funds.
They need to be reminded how their one successful campaign permanently changed the lives of millions in America. Thousands lost jobs, organised crime to gain a foothold in the country and tax income was cut by a huge amount. Not that they care - zealots seldom do.
"

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6. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 05/12/2014 15:43

"F 1 should tell the " Skarnk " to go jump in a fjord., and afterwards cease all contact with it.

Typical EU bureaucratic parasite."

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7. Posted by Peter W, 05/12/2014 12:43

"What a bunch of Mother Grundy's. Europe has much bigger issues to deal with"

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8. Posted by ESTMPRFT, 05/12/2014 12:20

"Why can't those with alcohol sponsorship put a "Don't drink and drive" disclaimer below the sponsor's logo? That should answer the stated concerns..."

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9. Posted by nonickname, 05/12/2014 12:16

"Why do the bunny hugers always want to ban the advertising? As I have said previously, if the product is harmful,ban the product. I would love to see the response to that from the revenue departments of all of the countries in the EU"

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10. Posted by Hondawho?, 05/12/2014 12:09

"This lady is obviously becoming a "Skar" on the landscape. Once more the minority ruin it for the majority and someone in the EU wants to make a name for themselves.

I agree with Mr E, doing business in the EU is getting worse.

If this ban came into force would this mean the end of Force India who rely on their drinks sponsorship from associated companies, and of course Martini?"

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