Home > Report on sponsorship of sports by the alcohol drinks industry.

Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. (2013) Report on sponsorship of sports by the alcohol drinks industry. Dublin: Houses of the Oireachtas.

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The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications has recommended that the sponsorship of sporting events by the alcohol drinks industry should remain in place until such time as it can be replaced by other identifiable streams of comparable funding.

The Committee also recommends that a fixed percentage of all sponsorship received by sporting and cultural organisations from the alcohol drinks industry should be ring-fenced for alcohol and substance abuse prevention programmes.

The proposals are contained in a Committee report published this morning. The Committee also recommended that:
• Sponsorship of sports and sporting events be treated in the same way as sponsorship of the arts, music and other festivals;
• All sporting organisations be encouraged to support programmes which contribute to social inclusion in order to reduce the abuse of alcohol, particularly among young people;
• A Code of Practice for the consumption of alcohol within stadia be drawn-up by all sporting organisations, and
• Prohibition on sponsorship by the alcohol industry be considered only if it is done on a pan-European basis in order to ensure that Irish sports and sporting organisations are not operating at a disadvantage relative to their international competitors.

Detailed proposals to deal with alcohol misuse were presented by a Department of Health Steering Group last year, which included the phasing out of alcohol sponsorship of sporting and cultural events by 2016. In its role in shadowing the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Committee agreed to carefully consider the particular recommendation on sponsorship of sporting events.

Committee Vice-Chairman John O’Mahony TD said “In March and April we heard from a wide variety of interested organisations including the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Football Association of Ireland, Alcohol Action Ireland, the College of Psychiatrists, Horse Racing Ireland, the Federation of Irish Sports and the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland. We thank all representatives for candid and clearheaded contributions. As a Committee, we are cognisant of the fact that both the sporting organisations and the medical professionals hold strong, but opposing views, on the matter.

“Some Committee Members were firmly of the view that sponsorship by alcohol drinks companies should be phased out by 2016, as proposed in the Steering Group Report. However, the majority held the view that the link between sponsorship and the misuse of alcohol in society had not been established and, consequently, the Committee feels that banning sponsorship of sports by the alcohol industry is not merited at this time. In the current economic climate, the report argues, the main sporting organisations in this country would suffer inordinately if legislation for such a prohibition was introduced.”

“With overdrinking such a pressing public health issue, the Committee has been encouraged by the efforts outlined by sporting organisations to curb misuse of alcohol among young people in particular. To reinforce this work, it has recommended that a percentage of sponsorship by alcohol companies be ring-fenced to reduce alcohol misuse.”

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