MP calls for alcohol ad ban at sports events

A ban on alcohol advertising at sporting events is being demanded by a Labour MP in an attempt to tackle binge drinking among young people.

Dr Howard Stoate, writing for the Fabian Society – a Labour think-tank – is worried that sports clubs are encouraging drinking among young people by glamorising alcohol and establishing a link with alcohol and success in sport.

He said: "Watch any top-flight football match these days on television and you'll see dozens of references to alcohol products. You see drinks firms' logos on team shirts, drinks commercials at half-time and bottles of champagne for the 'man of the match'– the list is endless.

"We need a more radical measure that will prevent alcohol companies from associating themselves with the excitement and glamour of professional sport and using it to boost their sales among the young in particular.

"A complete ban on alcohol advertising or sponsorship within sport is the only way of achieving this. Alcohol advertising shouldn't be allowed anywhere near live sporting events or sport on television."

Mr Stoate said young people were drinking more than ever, with alcohol consumption among 11- to 15-year-olds in England doubling since 1990. He said: "Teenagers as young as 13 are being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related treatment and liver specialists are seeing patients in their twenties and thirties with end-stage alcoholic liver disease."

Gordon Brown has promised action to tackle binge drinking, including encouraging supermarkets to stop discount sales of beers. The Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, said the first official review of the flexible drinking laws showed they had "mixed" results, including an increase in violent crime in the early hours.