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Australian sporting bodies adopt programme to reject alcohol sponsorship

Submitted by Matt Cutler on Mon, 25/06/2012 – 23:59

Twelve of Australia’s national sporting organisations have turned their backs on alcohol sponsorship by signing up to a major new A$25 million (US$25.16 million) government-funded programme.

The initiative has been established by the government in an effort to address binge drinking and the influence of alcohol promotion on young Australians. Under the terms of the programme, the bodies have agreed to end all existing and future alcohol sponsorship agreements in exchange for a share of A$25 million in new Alcopops tax revenues. The participating organisations include Football Federation Australia, Swimming Australia, Cycling Australia, Hockey Australia and Athletics Australia.

However, the 12 bodies do not include some of the nation’s biggest sports organisations – the Australian Football League (AFL), National Rugby League (NRL) and Cricket Australia – who are set to come under pressure to follow suit. The value of alcohol sponsorship to these organisations was demonstrated earlier this month as the AFL announced a 10-year extension to its historic sponsorship deal with Carlton United Brewers (CUB) in an agreement reportedly worth in excess of A$50 million.

Commenting on the campaign, Australia’s Minister for Sport, Kate Lundy, said: “Sport is a really important part of young peoples’ lives and it’s terrific that our elite athletes have come on board to promote a healthy sporting lifestyle in the lead up to the Olympics. This campaign is about tapping into the positive influence sporting clubs have on young people while promoting responsible drinking.”

The initiative will not affect the pourage rights and service of alcohol at stadiums and events, but instead will cover a range of activities and events from national team sponsorship, to Australia-wide competitions and community sporting events. Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil added: “Swimming is one of the highest participation sports among young people in this country and we are choosing to take a proactive approach on this issue because it’s our desire to tackle this problem together as a community.”

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