The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is calling for an end to alcohol sponsorships in cricket, with currently more than 20 alcohol-related sponsorships in cricket across Australia.
The RACP is concerned about the impact alcohol promotion has on young cricket fans – a sentiment backed by the majority of Australians, with 61 per cent concerned about the exposure of children to alcohol promotions in sport.
RACP Paediatrics & Child Health Division President, Dr Sarah Dalton, says it’s unacceptable that young children are being bombarded with alcohol promotion both at the ground and at home watching on TV.
“It is time for a national conversation to discuss how big brewers are using sport as a channel to market their product, leaving our children as the collateral damage,” explained Dr Dalton. “It is happening in too many Australian sports and it needs to stop.
“These promotions normalise alcohol, with Australian kids getting the message that alcohol is an important part of socialising and sports,” said Dr Dalton.
“During one of the VB ODI games, I urge you to keep a tally of how many times you spot an alcohol ad or logo, either at the ground, on a player’s shirt, or in an advert on TV – I’m sure the number would surprise and shock you.
“Sadly, we know this type of marketing leads children and adolescents to start drinking earlier and makes young drinkers prone to binge drinking patterns.
Dr Dalton also criticised the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) who she says need to do more to ensure children are protected during sports broadcasts.
“Sports are the only programs allowed to broadcast alcohol advertisements before 8:30pm, on weekends and public holidays, at times when children are most likely to be watching television. Because of this it’s estimated that children under the age of 18 are exposed to 50 million alcohol advertisements each year.
“As a paediatrician, I am interested in finding out why this is allowed to happen. The ACMA needs to step up, remove this loophole, and help protect Australian children from alcohol promotion.”
Dr Dalton encouraged Cricket Australia and the ACMA to review the RACP’s Alcohol Policy, which calls for national, comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to combat the harms of alcohol.