As we welcome in the new year, the team at FARE would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year in alcohol policy and to recognise the many achievements of these last 12 months.
During January, we’ll be showcasing some of the best pieces published on Drink Tank, Australia’s conversation space about alcohol, in 2016.
Today we’re focusing on alcohol and sport.
Imagine if professional sport in Australia was to align with sponsors that share our common values and promote positive and healthy behaviours to our kids – instead of relying on sponsorship dollars from an industry that is grooming young drinkers through persuasive advertising just like the tobacco industry did.
FARE continues to advocate for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport, to end the inappropriate marketing and promotion of alcohol to vulnerable and impressionable children.
In fact, our #BoozeFreeSport campaign kicked off in 2016, targeting Australia’s professional sporting codes such as the NRL and Cricket Australia. We’ve summarised some of the key commentary below.
As the weather heats up and we move from winter to summer sports, alcohol sponsorship remains the one constant. Which sporting code will seize the opportunity to rise above the rest and sever its advertising and sponsorship connections with alcohol?
“Somehow we have managed to overlook the mayhem generated by binge drinking on the days of our major sports events. Sporting bodies have failed to understand the intimate connection between their big day of the year and the personal and social toll of drinking. Policymakers have failed to hold Big Alcohol accountable for promoting the idea that alcohol and sport are indivisible and marketing to children.” Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Geoff Munro reports on a Victorian study that shows how binge drinking is synonymous with Australia’s major sporting events.
The XXXI Olympiad may well be the biggest show on earth, and a tribute to the tens of thousands of athletes across a myriad of sports, but the Olympic Games is also a spectacular that has come to epitomise much of what is wrong with sport. FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says public health campaigners have every right to be concerned with the unhealthy relationship between the IOC and producers of junk food and alcohol.
It’s as Australian as a beer snake at the cricket or the New South Wales VB Blues, but is the marriage of convenience between booze and sport on the rocks? Carl Heslop from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation takes a look at a drinking culture permeating Australian sport to the highest levels, and the battle by grassroots clubs to call last drinks on sponsorship and the traditional post-game slab.
“I sat down with my family to watch State of Origin on Wednesday. And I was completely taken aback by what I saw. I was tempted to ask my sons if the New South Wales VB’s were playing the Queensland XXXX’s.” The 2016 State of Origin broadcast left Kirstie Clements shocked. The FARE Director, former editor of Vogue Australia and mother of two sports-mad sons spoke to The New Daily about why this should be a cause of concern for parents.
Queensland’s victory over New South Wales was reported as the highest rating State of Origin match ever and “the top TV event of 2016”. Both teams carried alcohol advertising on their clothing into the match. Permitting the alcohol industry to exploit the brilliance, excitement and delight of sport to advertise its products of destruction is inconsistent with social responsibility, writes Stephen Leeder.
Ahead of Origin Game 2, Steve Ella’s daughter Kristen launched a petition calling for the NRL to phase out alcohol sponsorship. Kristen spoke to Drink Tank about what motivated her to start the #BoozeFreeSport petition, which received more than 3,000 signatures.
“Since my days proudly representing New South Wales in the State of Origin I have become increasingly dismayed as the Blues have become ever more saturated with alcohol sponsorship. Sadly, it has become increasingly difficult to know where the game ends and alcohol advertising begins.” FARE Director and rugby great Steve Ella slams reckless alcohol promotion.
Alcohol is part of the fabric of Australian culture, but are we doing enough to protect young people from the harmful effects of binge drinking and to help those with an alcohol problem? Alcohol promotions in sport make no sense and must cease, says Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) President Nicholas Talley.
It’s not that we can’t tackle alcohol; it’s the countervailing forces which stop us, says former Chair of FARE Professor Ian Webster. In this post, Professor Webster examines the longstanding relationship between the alcohol industry and sport – a partnership which undermines sporting values and risks the health of future generations