No place for alcohol marketing in sport

The chair of Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) Vivienne MacLaren spoke at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 20th February to highlight the reality of not accepting sponsorship from the alcohol and gambling industries / talk about the real impact on grassroots sport without the income from alcohol and gambling industries.

Presenting to the Cross-Party Group on Improving Scotland’s Health, this discussion comes shortly after the Scottish Government have committed to consult and engage on a range of measures, including mandatory restrictions, on alcohol marketing to protect children and young people in Scotland, as part of their alcohol preventionl framework. In the framework they sopecifically encourage other sports teams to diversify their sponsorship away from the alcohol industry.

Ahead of the event, Vivienne MacLaren, chair of SWF said, “Scottish Women’s Football is clear that accepting alcohol and gambling sponsorship would be incompatible with our role in promoting healthy lifestyles amongst girls and women and supporting them to make postive choices. We believe positioning ourselves as a ‘clean’ sport is both beneficial to those who participate in and follow women’s football but also to the long-term growth and sustainbility of our organisation.”

In support of the stance that SWF has taken, Co-Convener of the Cross-Party Group, Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “There is no place for alcohol marketing in sport. We need to encourage other sporting bodies to follow the example of SWF given the clear evidence that children and young people who are exposed to alcohol marketing are more likely to start drinking, more likely to drink heavily and more likely to develop a problem.”

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland and joint Secretary to the Cross-Party Group, said: “It’s easy to see why many clubs are attracted to the income alcohol sponsorship can provide but they need to be aware that alcohol marketing drives consumption and harm. It is encouraging that the Scottish Govenment has committed to consult later this year on measures to control alcohol marketing, but if they are really interested in protecting our children and young people we need to see a clear timeable set out for ending the sponsorship of sports, music and cultural events.”

The Cross Party Group on Improving Scotland’s health: 2021 and beyond on the 20 February will be examining the influence of marketing in driving consumption and harm (with particular reference to children and young people and other vulnerable groups) and to increase understanding and support for evidence-based measures to reduce exposure and appeal in Scotland.

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