A group of Aussie doctors has called for alcohol companies to be banned from sponsoring cricket, claiming it is doing no good for children who watch the sport.
Dr Sarah Dalton from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) told the ABC it was unacceptable for young kids to be bombarded with promos by alcohol brands while watching sport.
“We’re overdue for a national conversation to discuss how big brewers are using sport as a channel to market their product, leaving our children as the collateral damage,” Dalton said.
“It is happening in too many Australian sports and it needs to stop.”
Doctors are worried that giving naming rights to alcohol companies such as VB for the recent one-day international series between Australia and Pakistan increases awareness and normalises the use of alcohol, according to the ABC, have called on the Australian Communications and Media Authority to stop alcohol brands from sponsoring sporting events.
“During one of the VB ODI games, I urge you to keep a tally of how many times you spot an alcohol ad or logo, either at the ground, on a player’s shirt, or in an advertisement on TV,” Dalton said.
“I’m sure the number would surprise and shock you.
“We know this type of marketing leads children and adolescents to start drinking earlier, and makes young drinkers prone to binge drinking patterns.”
Research by the RACP found that New South Wales was one of the “worst-offending states” for alcohol promotion, with five sponsorships spread across Cricket NSW as well as Big Bash League teams the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
The research comes after a series of peer-reviewed studies published by international journal Addiction found a link between alcohol marketing and youth drinking, and that self-regulatory measures by the alcohol industry are failing to protect children.
However, Alcohol Beverages Australia executive director Fergus Taylor slammed the suggestion that current self-regulatory measures are ineffective and that further regulation is needed in Australia to curb underage drinking.
“Underage drinking is in steady decline across the country and has been for some time,” he said.
“The fact that this decline has occurred during a period of increased alcohol advertising is a clear indication that regulations in place work, and work well.
“Anti-alcohol activists have been trying for years to blame alcohol advertising as the cause of underage drinking, but the inconvenient truth for them is this claim is simply not supported by official data.”