New campaign to rid sports broadcasts of alcohol ads

On the field of a sporting match, it’s always a fight.

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But some fear watching alcohol commercials is stoking another battle: between young viewers and the bottle.

Michael Thorn, the chief executive of the Foundation for Alchohol Research and Education says exposing children in particular to alcohol commercials, will lead to issues in adulthood.

“It will increase the likelihood they will commence drinking earlier. and if they do commence drinking earlier they are more likely to suffer problems later in life.

The booze free sport campaign follows recent changes to the rules around gambling ads, which have seen restrictions placed around timing and content of gambling advertisements during sports broadcasts.

Campaigners believe the public has also had enough of alchohol commercials in cricket, N-R-L and A-F-L televised games.

Some residents of LaKemba in Sydney’s west say they have.

“I don’t think it should be publically advertised on TV”

“the kid is watching the adult trying and they are curious, they want to try anything.”

“they are really keen, like what is alcohol? what is that?”

Research by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education reveals that each year in Australia, 1 million kids are affected by carers who drink heavily,100,000 are severely impacted, and 10 000 kids with carers who drink are taken by child protection services.

Former Saint Kilda president Rod Butterss’ own struggle with alcoholism is one he says too many sports players share.

“Those problems often started at a very early age when they were just associating alcohol with their sporting heroes and then they come back into the system, and it’s not just the system it’s endemic across society.”

Millions of Australians are expected to tune in to the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, the latter here at Sydney’s Olympic Park. These broadcasts represent some of the most expensive advertising space in Australia, and they generate many millions of dollars.

Mr Thorn says the lost revenue from alcohol advertisers could be subsidised, with replacement sponsors sourced to generate revenue.

“We propose the establishment of a sponsorship replacement fund to relieve the immediate financial burden of winding back the sponsorship. This is something that was done when tobacco advertising was phased out in the 1990’s.”

Federal ministers are being lobbied to change laws.

In a statement, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told SBS Alcohol advertising on TV and radio is regulated through Codes of Practice enforced by ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

ACMA undertakes public consultation whenever these Codes are amended and ensures they reflect community standards.