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Most Australians say alcohol promotion and sport don’t mix: new report

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More than seven out of 10 Australian adults want TV ads promoting alcohol to be phased out at times when children are likely to be watching sports broadcasts – including this week’s AFL and NRL Grand Finals, a national survey commissioned by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth shows.

The survey of 1050 Australian adults also found 80 per cent of adults are concerned about the current levels of exposure children have to alcohol promotion, and 71 per cent do not think it is appropriate for alcohol advertisements to feature sports stars that are popular with children.

The survey results are outlined in a new Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) report, ‘It’s not fair play: Why alcohol must leave sport’, released today by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and Cancer Council WA.

The report also reveals an analysis of complaints made to the AARB over the past five years, with sport-related complaints making up almost one-third (305) of the total 939 complaints.

About two-thirds of the sport-related complaints made were related to alcohol sponsorship of sport, with more than 80 per cent of those complaints related to AFL, NRL, cricket and motor racing. Carlton Draught and VB, sponsors of AFL and NRL, both received more sponsorship complaints than any other alcohol brand.

McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth Executive Officer Julia Stafford said the report highlighted the community’s concerns with children and young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising through sports.

“TV ratings data show kids love watching sport – the AFL and NRL Grand Finals were in the top five programs watched by children in 2016-17 – so we know hundreds of thousands of kids watching the Grand Finals this weekend will be heavily exposed to alcohol promotion,” Ms Stafford said.

“Given the majority of Australian adults do not think it is acceptable for alcohol to be promoted in connection with sport, we call on the Federal Government to phase out alcohol sponsorship of sport, close the loophole that allows alcohol ads during sport on TV, and introduce independent, legislated controls on all forms of alcohol marketing.”

Cancer Council WA Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager Steve Pratt said alcohol advertising should not be involved in sports.

“While alcohol and sport are so closely connected, children and young people will continue to be exposed to unacceptably high levels of alcohol marketing. If the health and wellbeing of our community is a priority for governments, it is clear alcohol has no place in sport,” Mr Pratt said.

In the foreword of the report, Nick Marvin, former CEO and Managing Director of the Perth Wildcats and Perth Lynx and former Chairman of the National Basketball League, wrote: “Above all my personal achievements in sports administration, I consider few greater than the eradication of alcohol from any involvement with the Perth Wildcats. It is now up to the more powerful and wealthy sports such as cricket, rugby league and motor racing, who rank very poorly in this area, to show leadership by walking away from alcohol – especially in light of their enormous revenues from media and other healthy sponsors”.

The full report can be viewed here:—Why-alcohol-must-leave-sport-2017-FINAL-FOR-WEB.pdf

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