Sponsorship ban starves Lithuanian sports teams

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VILNIUS, LITHUANIA -- Lithuania's sporting organizations are to hold urgent talks with the government in a bid to have a new law banning sponsorship by alcohol or tobacco groups revoked.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has become the first victim of the law, with NBA officials accusing the new regulation of "putting it out of business".

The NBA is sponsored by Philip Morris, and says it has found it difficult to secure alternative commercial sponsorship. "We are on the point of going bankrupt, and the government must make changes in the law to allow us to survive," says Alkis Kaunasnez, the NBA's senior treasurer.

The Advertising & Sponsorship Bill, which was championed by the Democratic Labour Party, was introduced into law January 1 after been approved by the country's Constitutional Court.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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