British Health Experts Call For Ban On Alcohol-Sponsored Sports Events

By McCarton Ackerman 12/30/14

In a letter to the Guardian, public health officials and local charities call for an end to alcohol sponsorships in sports.


It’s not uncommon to see alcohol companies as main sponsors for major sporting events, but a group of British medical health leaders are now calling for the practice to be banned due to concerns it could fuel underage drinking.

Public health campaigners and local health charities signed a letter to the Guardian that called for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sports and urged the government to “listen to the people rather than big business.” The letter stated that enough alcohol advertising took place during the World Cup to have one example during each minute of the game. Because many Brits would object to tobacco companies sponsoring major sporting events, they believe the feeling should be mutual with alcohol.

“Let’s take action to protect our children by ensuring that the sports we watch promote healthy lifestyles and inspire participation, not a drinking culture,” concludes the letter. “Let’s make alcohol sports sponsorship a thing of the past.”

A spokeswoman for the Portman group, which represents alcohol producers, said the letter had no merit it. She said that not only is alcohol sponsorship a huge boost to the country’s economy, but that problem drinking is becoming less of an issue in the UK.

“Calling for a ban does not reflect the reality of what is happening in the UK,” she told The Guardian. “Official government statistics show that rates of binge drinking among 16- to 24-year-olds are in significant decline and the number of children even trying alcohol is at a record low."

Although Brazil allowed alcohol to be consumed by fans during this year’s World Cup, FIFA, the world governing body of soccer took a strict approach to substance use among its players. U.S. goalie Tim Howard was tested just minutes after making a World Cup record 16 saves during the team’s loss against Belgium.

FIFA selected two players from both teams to be randomly given a urine test after each World Cup match. However, no player tested positive during the tournament.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.