EC ruling hits A-B soccer plans

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The European Commission unexpectedly rejected brewer Anheuser-Bush's complaint against France's Loi Evin, which prevents it from sponsoring the soccer World Cup in 1998. A-B signed as one of the core sponsors of the soccer competition, but the French law, passed in 1991 to protect the domestic drinks industry against foreign competition, would make that sponsorship impossible. The decision, made on the grounds of "public health," has been branded a "political decision" by the European Association of Advertising Agencies. The EAAA plans to lobby for a review of the decision, and is also urging the Union of European Football Associations to fight.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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