The Zurich branch of the Blue Cross, an international NGO focusing on preventing and reducing alcohol problems, last week launched a campaign to ban alcohol marketing at sports stadia and sports events. This goals is perused primarily to protect young people.

“We are not killjoys,” said Stephen Kunz, the Zurich head of the Blue Cross, in an interview with Kunz realizes that beer and sausage are part of the enjoyment of going to a football match. “And we do not want to ban alcohol itself at sporting events but we do not feel it is right that alcoholic drinks should be advertised.”

Kunz stresses that sports and alcohol ‘just do not go together.’ According to Kunz, linking the beneficial effects of sport with alcoholic products is an unethical marketing practice. It is no secret that the alcoholic drinks industry, and breweries in particular, annually invest millions of francs in advertising and sport sponsoring. In Switzerland, it is mainly at football and ice-hockey games that beer advertising is predominantly featured.

Currently, there is already a ban on advertising spirits at stadia and sporting events in Switzerland. If the new Blue Cross campaign is successful it would mean a total ban on adverting of alcoholic drinks in the Zurich canton.

As far as the Blue Cross is concerned, they are just beginning: In the long term they wants to ban the advertising of alcohol at sporting events throughout Switzerland, hoping that a successful campaign in Zurich will have a chain reaction on the rest of the country. Blue Cross members and supporters right now are out and about collecting the 6,000 signatures that are necessary.

Members of the sports branch have already reached out with panicked reactions stating that it will be hard for sport clubs to survive without financial support of alcohol producers. EUCAM would like to point out that this was not the case in France, where sport sponsorship has been prohibited and sport clubs keep flourishing.

Source: 08/24/12

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