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Alcohol Industry v Health Ministry 1:0

Sport is not an arena for alcohol promotion

This weekend, UEFA Euro 2012 kicks off in Warsaw. During the next weeks 1.4 million fans are expected at the stadiums, and millions of people will follow the championship from more than 200 territories around the world[i]. This is a brilliant opportunity to promote sport, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. However, looking at the sponsors to UEFA Euro 2012, healthy lifestyle is not the message put forward when exposing the audience with sponsors such as Coca Cola, McDonalds and Carlsberg[ii]. Carlsberg is one of the leading breweries in the world, and is one of the official sponsors to the UEFA Euro 2012[iii].

In 2009, global sponsorship spending was estimated for 44.8 billion USD; compared to 5.6 billion in 1987[iv]. It must be working and paying off. ‘It is extremely disappointing that with such an unique platform UEFA with silent blessing of political leaders is choosing to promote alcohol over health. To associate and brand football together with alcohol is more than problematic. It is simply lack of any long term consideration of the impact bad health will have on the population.’ says Mariann Skar- Secretary General of European Alcohol Policy Alliance.

Alcohol is one of the world’s leading health risks; use of alcohol is especially harmful for younger age groups. The World Economic Forum identified non communicable diseases (NCDs) as the second most severe threat to the global economy in terms of likelihood and potential economic loss, causing estimated 25 trillion EUR of output loss over the period 2005-2030[v].

Moreover, alarmingly 43% of 15-16 year old European students report heavy binge drinking[vi]. Alcohol is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15-59 2[vii] and Europe is the world’s heaviest drinking region, some European countries rank around 2.5 times higher than the global average[viii]. Alcohol related harm is one of the 4 risk factors for developing NCDs such as cancer (which affects 1 in 3 Europeans) and cardiovascular disease.

Having this in mind, it becomes clear that football and alcohol should not be partners, and Eurocare calls for stronger regulation on alcohol marketing and sponsorship.



  • Europe has the highest drinking levels in the world, the highest alcohol per capita consumption and the highest alcohol- related harm problems.
  • Chronic diseases, to which alcohol is the 3rd main contributory factor, are in the top of global risks next to such threats like fiscal crises and are expected to cost global economy over 30 trillion USD over the next two decades.
  • Across the EU some €125bn a year (equivalent to 1.3% GDP). This is figure for 2004 likely to be higher by now
  • Alcohol is a major contributory factor in accidents; 1 in 3 of all road traffic deaths are caused by alcohol
  • 1 in 4 of male deaths between 15-29 years are due to alcohol
  • Alcohol is a risk factor in some 60 diseases such as cancer, liver cirrhosis etc. Taking all diseases and injuries at global level into account, the negative health impact of alcohol consumption is 31.6 times higher than benefit




[iv] Day H. (2010) European Sponsorship Association, retrieved from:

[v]World Economic Forum (2010) Global risks 2010. Geneva, Retrieved from:

[vi] The 2011 ESPAD Report; retrieved from

[vii] WHO 2011, Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health

[viii] WHO, Global Health Risks 2009, retrieved from: