Time for final whistle on alcohol sponsorship of sport

The harm caused to vulnerable groups by alcohol sponsorship in sport has been raised directly with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon by the Scottish Greens at Holyrood today. 

The Scottish Greens health spokesperson, Gillian Mackay MSP, used First Minister’s Questions to urge the Scottish Government to ‘recognise the need to implement restrictions on alcohol sport sponsorship as a public health measure to protect our population.’

In response the First Minister said “It is the case that alcohol advertising and promotion can encourage young people to drink alcohol and indeed act as a barrier for those in recovery. Restricting alcohol advertising and promotion is one of the World Health Organisation’s three 'best buys' to prevent and reduce alcohol related harms.” 

She then highlighted the public consultation that the Scottish Government has launched on the topic of alcohol advertising in public spaces.

Speaking after First Minister’s Questions, Gillian Mackay MSP said:

“I welcome the First Minister’s comments and hope that Scotland can lead on this and recognise it as the public health threat that it is.

“The alcohol companies wouldn’t spend so much money on this kind of sponsorship if it wasn’t highly profitable. It gives them an opportunity to reach a mass audience, regardless of the consequences for vulnerable groups, including young people and people in recovery.

“Tobacco sponsorship was rightly ended years ago. But alcohol marketing is still everywhere. It is important that we remove it, but we can’t simply replace it with gambling companies and other damaging industries.

“There is an onus on all teams and sporting bodies to think about the message they are sending out and the brands and products they are endorsing

“Sports are for all of us, and live family events shouldn’t be used as a promotional vehicle for alcohol and gambling companies. It’s time to blow the final whistle on it.”