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Davidoff sponsorship complaint stubbed out

The Independent Complaints Authority for Radio and Television (ICA) has rejected a complaint against the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tennis tournament.

The Basel event, one of the last in the world to be sponsored by a tobacco company, is broadcast every year by TSR, a Swiss French-language television channel.

Davidoff has sponsored the tournament since 1994 and its name is visible on advertising hoardings and on the court itself behind both baselines.

In 2008 an anti-smoking group took exception to this, saying it was product placement and that it violated broadcast laws on the protection of children since harmful products were linked with popular tennis stars.

On Thursday however the ICA rejected both complaints, judging that reporters only ever referred to the "Swiss Indoors" and that television cameras never focused on the company's name.

Tobacco advertising has been banned on Swiss radio and television since 1964. It is legal in cinemas (after 7pm) and in print media.

The issue of banning tobacco advertising which is visible in public areas, such as on billboards (even when the poster itself is on private property), is left to the cantons. Otherwise, tobacco sponsorship of cultural and sporting events is legal.

The ICA's decision can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court.

In this year's final on November 8, Roger Federer was beaten by Novak Djokovic, failing in his attempt to win four titles in a row.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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