CAMPAIGNERS are hoping to kick alcohol sponsorship into touch by teaming up with young footballers on Wearside.
North East alcohol office Balance is launching its “alcohol sponsorship: let’s kick it out” drive as it calls for a ban on alcohol advertising during sports coverage in the UK.
As part of the drive, Balance’s name will now adorn the strips of Farringdon Detached Under 15s team for the next two seasons.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “The club has contributed to nurturing the talents of young people in Sunderland for a number of years. It’s important for sports clubs such as this to engage children in sport and encourage them to live healthy, happy lives.”
Balance says the alcohol industry spends about £800million a year on marketing, with many youngsters now able to recognise alcohol brands more than biscuit or ice cream brands.
Last month’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley was watched by around one million children in the UK and was sponsored by lager Budweiser.
Budweiser is also an official sponsor of the World Cup which kicks off tomorrow in Brazil.
“Alcohol advertising on TV is seen more often by children than adults and that kind of exposure has a huge impact on their attitudes towards drinking,” added Colin. “You only have to look at research which showed that 11-year-olds are more familiar with leading alcohol brands than those of leading biscuits or ice-cream to realise the scale of the problem.
“Our children should be able to watch their favourite sports without being constantly exposed to alcohol marketing.”
Farringdon Detached FC was formed in 2003 with one under-16s team, but the club has continued to grow and now has 14 teams with both boys and girls from under 8s up to adults.
Ian Stewart, chairman and coach at the club, said: “We are very happy to welcome Balance on board as a club sponsor. We fully support its campaign and, as a club, we also continually strive to educate our players on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and engaging in sport.”