18th December 2022; The National Scot; by Karin Goodwin
A NEW survey has revealed that just one in four Scots would not support a ban on sports sponsorship by the alcohol industry, The Ferret can reveal.
It comes as the Scottish Government – which is currently consulting on plans to restrict alcohol marketing, including a ban on advertising in sport – has been accused of breaking its commitment to exclude the alcohol industry from discussions on public health policy.
Campaigners including the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) said the Scotland-wide poll highlighted the need for the Scottish Government to guard against influence by the alcohol industry and act in the public interest to reduce alcohol harm and save lives.
An average of 700 people are hospitalised and about 24 people die each week from illnesses caused by drinking alcohol in Scotland. The number of annual alcohol-related deaths has been rising since 2012 and last year reached 1245.
The poll was done in October by marketing research company Ipsos on behalf of the University College London’s Alcohol Toolkit Survey. It asked Scots whether they would back a ban of alcohol advertising sports clubs, events and competitions.
Almost half (47 per cent) said they would back a ban, and a further 27 per cent said they were unsure, while the remaining 26 per cent said they would not support a ban.
SHAAP, a partnership between the Medical Royal Colleges in Scotland and the Faculty of Public Health, said it demonstrated that the public was “waking-up” to the fact that alcohol sponsorship was “completely at odds” to sport.
But both the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League have warned of the “significant unintended consequences” if the ban goes ahead, and highlighted the “potential multi-million pound cost to the national game”.
Recent research has shown that Scotland has a higher proportion of alcohol sponsors in the Scottish Premier League compared to other European nations.
Campaigners claim the cost to lives outweighs the financial risks to elite sport.