No alcohol advertising in sport Indaba

23 Jul 2018 - 09:00

Mr JP Naude, President: Western Cape Sports Confederation

The inherent conflict of interest of alcohol sponsorship in sport was brought in sharp focus at an INDABA co-hosted by the South African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) and the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at UCT. The INDABA around “End alcohol advertising in sport” was held at the Sports Sciences Institute on the 27th June 2018 and was organized to highlight the negative impact of alcohol advertising on young people’s consumption behavior with physical, emotional, economic and social costs; and to support the call for government to release the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill of 2013 to the public for comment.

The INDABA was opened by Prof. Landon Myer, whose comments set the scene for a heated discussion involving representatives of national, provincial and local sports bodies as well as civil society, academia, the Western Cape Liquor Board and community members from Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Vredenburg and Philipi. 

The presentations by Prof. Neo Morojele from the SAMRC and Prof. Leslie London from UCT SOPH generated questions and the discussions confirmed the need for legislative intervention to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising, and highlighted the need for increased and long-term investment in sport by government and the corporate sector.  Speakers from the floor highlighted their own experiences of grappling with intrusive marketing of alcohol in the communities where they live.

The meeting exposed the disjunct between the professional leagues and amateur sport in that alcohol sponsorships benefit elite professional sports men and women, but do not reach players in amateur sports – where the vast majority of people involved in sport are to be found. The discussion dispelled the myth that sport will collapse if alcohol sponsorship is removed from sports. It was acknowledged that all stakeholders have a role in supporting this change.

  1. Sports bodies were challenged to rethink their dependence on alcohol sponsorship, skilling themselves to market themselves differently.
  2. Corporates were challenged to rethink investing in sports as opposed to seeing it as a short term campaign.
  3. Media planners were identified as a key stakeholder to be engaged in changing how corporates invest in amateur sport.
  4. An appeal was also made to lobby the Lottery to revisit their original mandate of funding sports.
  5. Academia was challenged to make research and evidence more accessible to communities in order to influence positive behavior change. 

Alternative funding suggestions were discussed, including increased government funding; taxation; licensing of all registered sports people. Further engagement and action will continue in 2018.

(A postcard – print and electronic – calling for the banning of alcohol advertising, the Enactment of the National Liquor Amendment Bill of 2017 and the release of the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill of 2013 is available and will be distributed through organisations.)