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Search steps up for Arc backer.

WHEN the French racing authorities see the country's high-class brand names Hennessy and Martell prefixing famous British races, their saliva glands must go into overdrive.

How many years of sponsorship by a drinks company could the poor Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe have enjoyed were it not for the `Evain' law (which limits such advertising)?

The ridiculous law-which a few years ago led a state television channel to pull the plug on a rugby match at Twickenham when a camera homed in on an advert for the aniseed drink Ricard-doesn't help France-Galop in its search for a new sponsor for the Arc, which has been without a benefactor for the past two years.

The Arc was first sponsored by Trusthouse Forte in 1985 and '86, then Ciga took over for six years before Forte came back for another three seasons. After Granada bought Forte in 1996, support for the great race was discontinued.

Without a sponsor, it is difficult to market such an event in the manner it deserves and, though the weather didn't help, this year's Arc did lack a little sparkle.

For once, even the presence of some 12,000 visitors from Britain couldn't lift the atmosphere.

Marketing the Arc weekend has become a priority for Olivier Guiguet, who was recently appointed director of development at France-Galop.

An expert in marketing, Guiguet, 28, worked for the Danone group (yoghurts etc) in Mexico and more recently for the committee which organised the World Cup.

He was responsible for the promotion of Marseille football stadium during the World Cup series.

It must have come as a great relief to Guiguet that the English at this year's Arc were somewhat better behaved than they were at Marseille in June.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 16, 1998
Words:288
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