SPONSORSHIP is as unsuitable for drink as it is for tobacco, writes Alison Douglas
The appeal of sports sponsorship to children and young people is obvious and long-lasting – nearly 40 years on I can still remember how much I coveted the John Player Special Formula One matchbox car my friend Colin had. Tobacco sports sponsorship was banned in 2005 and it would now be considered outrageous for high-profile teams like Celtic to be brand ambassadors for tobacco – so why is it acceptable for alcohol?
Major alcohol brands are prominent in almost every high profile sporting event today, from the Olympics to the Champions League, Ryder Cup, Formula One and Wimbledon.
The Celtic football team advertise Magners cider on their shirts, while the Scottish Football Association has a seven figure ‘official beer partner’ sponsorship deal with Tennent’s. Scottish Rugby has several alcohol deals which means the brands Guinness, Crabbies and Caledonia Best are all over Murrayfield.
Why do companies spend over £300 million on sponsoring sports in the UK? It’s not for love of the game, or a genuine wish to support grassroots development. It’s a business tactic to increase brand awareness and boost sales and profits – and it works. Alcohol companies are eager to align themselves with the positive, healthy image of sport and gain access to new customers. Advertising agencies, media buyers and broadcasters also do very well from these tie-ups.
The simple truth is that alcohol and sport don’t mix. New guidelines issued by the UK Chief Medical Officers recommend not drinking alcohol at all before, during or directly after active physical sport. Many top athletes and sports stars are teetotal, recognising the impact that alcohol can have on their training regime, fitness and performance.
Yet alcohol brands are allowed to dominate sporting events that attract significant numbers of children as well as adults. Sports sponsorship enables companies to establish a link between their brand and our sporting heroes at a deep, emotional level.
It provides companies with direct and regular access to impressionable young people who are most susceptible to positive, risk-free messaging about alcohol and to the effects of alcohol itself.
Source: The Scotsman, 23rd May
Justice secretary Michael Matheson has said events at the Scottish Cup final on Saturday "underline" the need to to keep the ban on alcohol at football grounds.
His comments came after Police Scotland revealed they arrested 14 people in and around Hampden on the day of the match.
Fighting broke out after Hibernian's 3-2 victory over Rangers, with thousands of fans invading the pitch.
Mr Matheson said: "I think if anybody thought that reintroducing alcohol into Scottish football was a good idea, events of Saturday, I believe, just underline that it was not and I'm pleased that we stood our ground on that particular issue and opposed those parties in the Scottish Parliament who sought to try to change the legislation to allow alcohol to be reintroduced to grounds."
The ban on alcohol in football grounds was introduced after violence at the 1980 Scottish Cup final and has been in place ever since.
Police Scotland said three men, aged 18, 19 and 23, were arrested for allegedly breaching the Offensive Behaviour at Football Scotland Act due to a pitch invasion.
Another three men, aged aged 17, 18 and 22, were arrested for alleged disorder outside the stadium, while a 44-year-old man was arrested for allegedly trying to enter the stadium while drunk.
A 35-year-old man was arrested and detained by the police for attempting to enter the stadium while drunk and while having a football banning order in place. A 49-year-old man was reported to the procurator fiscal over an alleged assault.
Three men, two aged 28 and one aged 49, were reported to the procurator fiscal for alleged street drinking.
A 29-year-old man was reported for alleged drug offences while a 58-year-old man was reported to the for alleged street trading offences.
Glasgow Shettleston SNP MSP John Mason earlier said the disorder at the final show now is not "an appropriate time" to scrap the Offensive behaviour Act
He has lodged a motion before the Scottish Parliament which states the "scenes" after the cup final show the need to keep the both the act and the ban on the consumption of alcohol at football grounds in place.Source: STV News, 24th May