Oireachtas committee recommends against alcohol ban in sports

Report says alcohol sponsorship ban would hurt sports industry



2 July 2013

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A report by the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications has said a ban on the sponsorship of sporting events by the drinks industry should not be introduced. The report said the main sporting organisations in Ireland would suffer inordinately if such a ban was implemented, with no obvious source of alternative funding. It noted that there was anxiety among medical experts to have the association between alcohol and sport severed. The committee recommended a prohibition on sponsorship by the alcohol industry should only be considered if it was done on a pan-European basis in order to ensure that Irish sports and sporting organisations were not operating at a disadvantage relative to their international competitors.

It said alcohol sponsorship should remain in place until such time as it can be replaced by other identifiable streams of comparable funding. The committee said that in the current economic climate the main sporting organisations would suffer if a ban was introduced. It has recommended the establishment of an addiction fund to help reduce the abuse of alcohol.

A fixed percentage of sponsorship funds received by sporting, cultural and arts bodies would be ring-fenced for this central fund, it said. The committee has spent the last number of months examining recommendations to phase out drinks industry sponsorship by 2016. It heard from sports bodies including the GAA, the IRFU and the FAI as well as health experts and representatives of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland.

Also among the recommendations is that a code of practice for the consumption of alcohol within stadia be drawn up by all sporting organisations. The government is considering proposals that would outlaw all drink sponsorship of large sporting events by 2020. Minister of State Alex White said he believes that alcohol sponsorship of sports should be ended, and described such sponsorship as "counterintuitive". But he said sports bodies would be given a long lead-in period if a ban was introduced.




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