EC blasts sport’s reaction to proposed sponsorship ban

The European Commission has attacked sports authorities’ reaction to the proposed ban on the sponsoring of events by alcohol and tobacco companies.

Jean Bergevin, a top civil servant for the EC, says: “The response from the governing bodies was pathetic. Most organisations have treated the threats as being irrelevant to themselves.”

Bergevin spoke at the Annual European Sponsorship Consultants Association (ESCA) Congress in Luxembourg last Friday.

Currently Sweden and France have bans on alcohol sponsorship. France also has a ban on tobacco sponsorship and Sweden is attempting to exert pressure to ban sponsorships which appeal to children, such as sponsoring school projects.

The EC has the task of drawing up a uniform law in this area. However, Bergevin says member states are lobbying the EC for blanket bans more effectively than sports authorities want to keep the system unregulated.

Bergevin says the French Government’s ability to deny stadium signage to Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser brand in next June’s World Cup is an example of this.

In response, ESCA will organise an emergency November conference in London, drawing together governing bodies, sponsors, and sponsorship agencies. It will submit a paper arguing against regulation.

The EC expects to draw up legislation late next year.

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