MP attacks alcohol sponsorship in football

The Premier League and Football League have been accused of naivety over their claims about the impact of alcohol sponsorship on young people.

Dr Doug Naysmith, Labour MP for Bristol North West, said claims made by the football bodies that kit sponsorship does not lead to increased consumption were “naive” when he addressed a Government Health Committee inquiry into alcohol last week.

He added that sponsorship linked alcohol with success.

William Bush, director of communications and public policy at the Premier League, argued that it operates within industry body The Portman Group’s code of practice and Advertising Standards Authority regulations.

Bush added that kit sponsorship, perimeter advertising or tournament sponsorship is not “targeted” and is no different from press or outdoor advertising that can also be seen by young people.

“We are not targeting and we do not sail close to the wind”, he said.

Stewart Thomson, commercial director of the Football League, added that sponsorship is about activation, adding that it “works with sponsors to make sure that it is done responsibly”.

The Football League earns about a third of its sponsorship revenue from alcohol brands with the majority of this coming from Carling’s titlesponsorship of the League Cup.

Other commercial arrangements that clubs from both leagues have with drinks brands include pouring rights and official supplier agreements.

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