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Alcohol and Australian sport: the right mix?

Alcohol and Australian sport: the right mix?
January 8, 2014

Alcohol and sport in Australia seem to go hand in hand, with a long tradition of alcohol brands sponsoring all levels of sport and alcohol traditionally drunk in sports clubs to celebrate wins, commiserate losses and as the refreshment of choice for spectators cheering on their team.

Yet, in a feature in the upcoming January/February 2014 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Tara Oldfield of the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) questions these links, highlighting not only the how alcohol costs the Australian community but how local sport clubs have developed alternatives to these traditional links.

In the feature, Oldfield points out how the ADF's Good Sports program works in communities to make sports clubs safe and healthy. Through the program, clubs learn about managing alcohol responsibly to become more family-friendly.

More than 6,000 clubs are involved in Good Sports across the country. One club, Hectorville Sports & Community Club from South Australia, credits the program with securing its future.

In previous years, the club, which includes football, cricket, tennis and netball teams, had fallen into the trap that many sports clubs fall into they relied too much on alcohol sales to sustain the club.

As a result, behavioural issues plagued them; with intoxication, smoking and aggressive behaviour contributing to a culture that kept families away.

In 2008, the club decided it was time to turn things around. A new president and board of management were appointed and Hectorville Sports and Community Club joined the Good Sports program.

The first step was to introduce a Code of Conduct which outlined acceptable behaviour in relation to alcohol.

All bar staff then went onto complete Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training; they've increased their low and non-alcohol drinks range and ditched drink promotions that encourage binge drinking. The club has also overhauled their menu to provide healthier meals.

Hectorville Club President Claudio Spina says that as a result of all the changes, they've increased membership, including more juniors and families, and have a much brighter outlook than they did years ago.

Spina states "the program gives clubs like ours a greater platform to grow and ensure we have good governance, a responsible attitude towards alcohol and a safe and friendly environment for all the sporting community to thrive in.

"We've seen a remarkable change in the club's culture - particularly in members' attitudes towards alcohol, memberships, on-field performances and financial stability."

Within four years of joining Good Sports, the Club had cleared a debt of $50,000. In the last two years alone there has been a 41% increase of registered players now with a membership base of more than 1,700 people.

The full feature can be reads in the upcoming January/February 2014 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.

For more information about Good Sports visit www.goodsports.com.au

3rd December 2013 - 200 WESTERN AUSTRALIAN SPORTING CLUBS COMMIT TO CULTURE CHANGE

15th October 2013 - CRICKET AUSTRALIA CRITICISED FOR REJECTING ANTI-ALCOHOL ADVERTISING IN DOMESTIC ONE-DAY COMPETITION  COMPETITION

7th September 2011 - WA VENUES MOVE AWAY FROM ALCOHOL SPONSORSHIP

28th December 2009 - RUDD AND BENAUD URGE DRINKERS ‘TO DECLARE’


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