World Cup 2014: Fans issued grave warning over drinking


Alcohol Awareness warning over drinking during World Cup

An alcohol awareness charity has warned of the dangers of making alcohol consumption a "central feature" of the World Cup.

Alcohol Concern says that drink and football have too become too closely linked, and that the sporting event encourages people to drink too much.

While pubs and off licences are already prepared with their football-themed alcohol promotions, hospitals and police will have to prepare for the fallout, it warns.

The consumption of alcohol during previous World Cup tournaments has been associated with significant spikes in the demand for emergency medical treatment and domestic violence. The 2010 World Cup saw a 37.5 per cent rise in assault reports across 15 hospital emergency department on England match days.

And research examining data from the north west of England in the three last World Cups found the risk of domestic violence had risen by 26 per cent when England won or drew, and a 38 per cent increase when it lost.

A briefing note written by the charity on the World Cup said: "Over time, football and alcohol have become closely entwined at all levels, and officially endorsed.

"Alcohol companies have been keen to associate themselves with the sport, and it's now rare to watch football on the television without being exposed to various forms of alcohol marketing.

"It is difficult to reconcile football's potential for creating and promoting healthy and active lifestyles with the volume of alcohol marketing associated with the sport.

"During an England World Cup football match in June 2010, an estimated 1.6 million children aged four to 15 years old viewed alcohol adverts aired in the commercial breaks."

It added: "Does alcohol really need to be a central feature of the football World Cup?"

Tom Smith, policy programme manager at Alcohol Concern, said: "The fact that Fifa has pressurised Brazil to overturn domestic law so that World Cup venues will now sell alcohol shows the power the drinks industry has already had on the Fifa World Cup 2014.

"We want everyone to have a great time enjoying the World Cup, but there are so many forces encouraging people to drink too much.

"Alcohol marketing around the tournament is rampant and Government has effectively overruled local common sense on opening hours.

"Let's make this a tournament to remember and not score an own goal by drinking too much."

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