SFA and Diageo launch alcohol awareness campaign for football fans

The campaign launch at Hampden with Diageo responsible drinking ambassadors and Scotland assistant coach James McFadden. Picture: PA
The campaign launch at Hampden with Diageo responsible drinking ambassadors and Scotland assistant coach James McFadden. Picture: PA
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The Scottish Football Association and drinks company Diageo have launched a campaign to promote responsible drinking.

They hope to reach one million Scots with the Drink Positive campaign.

The initiative will use the William Hill Scottish Cup to encourage fans, coaches and players to be aware of the effects of alcohol and to encourage moderate drinking.

But last night Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said the move was “misguided”, and called for independent information rather than initiatives from organisations relying on people consuming alcohol.

Amateur football coaches will receive alcohol awareness training about how alcohol impacts on sporting performance and can then build responsible drinking messaging into coaching sessions.

The campaign was launched at Hampden stadium in Glasgow with a team of Diageo responsible drinking ambassadors and Scotland assistant coach James McFadden.

Mr McFadden said: “Alcohol and football are a common pairing, but it’s important for fans to recognise the dangers of excessive drinking.

“Our new partnership with Diageo will help to spread the message that responsible drinking is vital.”

Chris Rawlings, Scottish FA commercial director, said: “Its is our responsibility to use the platform we have to promote a balanced approach to alcohol consumption.”

Ms Douglas said: “Allowing drinks companies to run health campaigns is simply misguided.

“None of the over a hundred Diageo products surveyed for yesterday’s report from the Alcohol Health Alliance contained the current chief medical officers’ guidelines.

“If they choose not to provide basic health information how can they be trusted to help people reduce their drinking?”

Ms Douglas added: “Scotland already has a huge problem with alcohol, drinking 20 per cent more than our English neighbours. To tackle this we need independent and reliable information and advice on how to manage drinking.

“At the end of the day drinks companies rely on people drinking to support their revenue. Organisations who put their profits over people’s health should have no part in providing health advice.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are taking action to help people make healthier choices. The introduction of minimum unit pricing is allowing us to take direct action to tackle the provision of high strength, low cost alcohol across Scotland and is expected to save up to sixty lives in the first year alone.”