STV News, 5 February 2023 by Kevin Scott.
A snapshot poll of Scottish Football Supporters Association members found that 79% had been exposed to alcohol adverts or promotion specifically around football.
The results also show that supporters are open to change, with two-thirds (64%) of supporters agreeing that Scottish football’s reliance on the alcohol industry sponsorship is a “bad thing”.
Fans are more than three times more likely to believe that replacing current alcohol sponsorship with non-alcohol sponsorship would be a positive change rather than a negative one.
Additionally, two-thirds (66%) agree with the decision of Scottish Women’s Football not to accept sponsorship from alcohol companies.
The poll of 287 fans was prepared for Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), which has launched a campaign called ‘Calling Time’, which aims to end alcohol sponsorship in Scottish sport.
Elinor Jayne, director of SHAAP, said: “The results of this survey demonstrate the effectiveness of sponsorship by the alcohol industry.
“While we know that the industry only represents 6.4% of all sponsors in the Scottish Premiership, 79% of fans in this survey reported being exposed to that sponsorship.
“It is well established that exposure to alcohol marketing like this directly influences how much and how often people consume alcohol.
“Alcohol harm is one of Scotland’s greatest public health challenges – with more than three people a day dying in Scotland wholly because of alcohol.
“These tragic and preventable deaths must be addressed with absolute urgency and the widespread and pervasive nature of alcohol marketing in Scotland simply has to come to an end.”
The Scottish Government is considering an ‘Estonian-style’ system for alcohol advertising, which would see it banned from sports events, billboards and buses.
It said such advertising was seen by large numbers of children and is linked to problematic drinking later in life.
A consultation suggests banning sponsorship arrangements for clubs and organisations to create a more “family-friendly” environment.
Andy Smith, chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association, said: “We carried out this survey because we support the rights of fans to have a say in the future of Scottish football.
“We will keep working with fans to ensure that their views on alcohol marketing and sponsorship are heard.”