Sporting clubs and the wider community have much to gain from breaking the ties between alcohol sponsorship and sport, suggests a recent study.
As well as the predictable gains from reducing alcohol-related harm, benefits include increased community participation in sporting clubs and a better bottom line for clubs, suggests the latest “must read” article recommended by Dr Melissa Stoneham and the JournalWatch service of The Public Health Advocacy Institute WA.
Can we eliminate alcohol sponsorship from the Australian sporting culture?
Melissa Stoneham writes:
The Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, recently announced that twelve of the country’s leading sporting organisations have agreed to shun alcohol sponsorship, accepting federal government funding instead. It is timely to showcase PHAIWA’s must read article for September.
The article, Alcohol management in community sports clubs: impact on viability and participation by Ian Crundall, investigated whether improved alcohol management delivers additional benefits to sporting clubs in the form of financial viability, expanded membership, increased spectators and greater capacity for competition.
As we all know, sport is an important part of the Australian way of life – many of us played sports as children and continue to participate in sport as we grow older. Sport connects people, provides opportunities to be active and empower communities. Over time, alcohol has played a large role in the culture of some sporting clubs, whether it be celebrating a win, commiserating a loss or at club functions and fundraisers.
The article discusses the Good Sports program, which aims to challenge behaviours where alcohol is reinforced as integral to club participation, relaxation and the celebration or commiseration of wins and losses, and also aims to reduce irresponsible alcohol use within club settings.
It says the Good Sports program delivers lower rates of risky drinking, citing a study of football club members, where the prevalence of risky drinking was 68% lower among the Good Sports clubs compared to members of non-Good Sports clubs.
Similarly, risky drinking among males at certain cricket clubs was found to be less than half that among members of non-Good Sports clubs. The article states this trend was observed in clubs associated with a variety of sports.
Crundall also suggests that de-emphasising alcohol at sporting clubs will create an environment that is attractive to more people creating a safer, more comfortable and relaxed environment that will attract more families, women and juniors and therefore contributing to the long-term sustainability of clubs.
With sporting associations such as Swimming Australia, Cricket Australia, the Football Federation of Australia, and Basketball Australia all signing up to the Federal Government’s program to replace alcohol sponsorship with a campaign against binge drinking, it seems inevitable that, just as the tobacco advocates were able to do a couple of decades ago, we will eventually be able to separate alcohol sponsorship from major sports like AFL and Rugby.
• Dr Melissa Stoneham is Deputy Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute WA, an independent public health voice based within Curtin University, with a range of funding partners.
Ian Crundall. Alcohol management in community sports clubs: impact on viability and participation. Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2012; 23: 97-100
The Public Health Advocacy Institute WA (PHAIWA) JournalWatch service reviews 10 key public health journals on a monthly basis, providing a précis of articles that highlight key public health and advocacy related findings, with an emphasis on findings that can be readily translated into policy or practice.
- The Journals reviewed include:
- Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health (ANZJPH)
- Journal of Public Health Policy (JPHP)
- Health Promotion Journal of Australia (HPJA)
- Medical Journal of Australia (MJA)
- Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP)
- Tobacco Control (TC)
- American Journal of Public Health (AMJPH)
- Health Promotion International (HPI)
- American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM)
These reviews are then emailed to all JournalWatch subscribers and are placed on the PHAIWA website. To subscribe to Journal Watch go to http://www.phaiwa.org.au/index.php/other-projects-mainmenu-146/journalwatch
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