Smoking U-turn: Other sports call for exemption too

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The Independent Online
There was little attempt by other sporting bodies to disguise their contempt for what they saw as the preferential treatment given to Formula One racing by Tony Blair and his ministers. The general reaction was: If they can have exemption from a sponsor-ship ban, why can't we?

Sporting organisations dependent on tobacco sponsorship said they have for years offered successful voluntary agreements on the promotion of smoking, and will now be pressing ministers to retain the status quo.

Robert Holmes, spokesman for the British Darts Organisation, whose sport depends on a pounds 1.5m deal over four years for the Embassy World Professional Darts Championship and the Embassy Gold Cup, accused Downing Street of "snobbery" in giving concessions to the Formula One racing lobby. "It's particularly disappointing that a Labour government of all governments should strangle the life out of working-class sports," he said.

Mr Holmes denied suggestions from Downing Street that other sports - including darts - had indicated they could find alternative sponsorship.

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