The alcohol industry spends on average £800 million every year marketing their products. A large part of this goes into sponsoring high profile sporting events such as the World Cup, Rugby Union, Formula 1, Cricket and Golf.
The Alcohol Health Alliance has called for this to come to an end once and for all.
The Chair of the AHA, Professor Sir Ian Gilmour, made the proposal after complaining that alcohol sponsorship in the UK is now as commonplace as advertising for cereal or washing powder. He ar-gued that during the 2014 World Cup, viewers, which included millions of children and young people saw one advert for alcohol for every one minute of playing time.
Professor Gilmour continued:
“Shouldn’t national sports teams be inspiring our children to lead healthy and positive lifestyles? It would be considered outrageous if high profile teams like Everton were to become brand ambassa-dors for tobacco so why is it acceptable for alcohol?”
Worryingly, evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising does in fact lead to young people drinking more and starting to drink at a younger age. France has already banned alcohol sports sponsorship and has done so for many years and following a vigorous campaign by the Depart-ment of Health, it will also be phased out in Ireland by 2020.
The Committee has also recommended that a fixed percentage of all sponsorship that is received from sporting and cultural organisations from the alcoholic drinks industry should be put into sub-stance and alcohol abuse prevention programmes.
If a percentage of revenue from alcohol sponsorship went toward treating problems caused by al-cohol it could significantly increase the amount of funding provided to NHS treatment facilities. Lim-iting childrens exposure to alcohol advertising could also mean a drastic reduction in alcohol related crime and violence when those children reach adulthood.