Politics: Snooker, rugby and darts tell Tony Blair: treat us like F1

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The Independent Online
Leaders of national sports including darts, snooker, pool, rugby and cricket will tell Tony Blair today that they should be given the same privilege as Formula One motor racing and be exempted from a European ban on tobacco sponsorship.

They will be meeting the Prime Minister at Downing Street to underline their protests that their sports have been treated unfairly by being asked to give up tobacco sponsorship within four years.

Britain may table a concession to phase out tobacco sponsorship for motor racing in 10 years to avoid wrecking the EU deal when Tessa Jowell, the public health minister, attends a European council on 4 December.

Richard Branson, the Virgin boss, and the Government's adviser on alternative funding, is arguing that the delay should be shorter, but the other sports should be treated the same.

- Colin Brown, Chief Political Correspondent