Government advised to ban alcohol firms from sponsoring sporting events

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Proposals to ban sponsorship of sports and other events by drinks companies are expected to be included in a report to government to be finalised next month.

The National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group has been meeting on a monthly basis since January to consider alcohol consumption, supply, treatment, marketing, advertising and sponsorship.

It is due to send a report to the cabinet for approval next month and is expected to call for a ban on alcohol sponsorship and significant curbs on advertising, according to members of the group who have spoken to The Sunday Business Post. Drafts of the reports are currently being confirmed.

A separate working group on sports sponsorship by the alcohol industry published a report on the issue in June, but made no recommendations. Groups from the drinks industry and sporting bodies, who were represented on the working group, expressed strong opposition to the abolition of sponsorship.

However, the substance misuse group is expected to take a much harder ”public health” view of the sponsorship issue. It has 35 members, mostly drawn from health interests and include just one representative of the drinks industry.

Drinks companies are major sponsors of sports events, competitions and music festivals. Guinness is one of the main sponsors of today’s All-Ireland hurling final between Tipperary and Kilkenny.


Source: The Sunday Business Post, 05/09/10
Journalist: Pat Leahy