CONTROVERSIAL UEFA CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE SPONSORSHIP: Heineken Ask Football Fans To 'Drink Responsibly.'

Probably, you’ve seen a fan suddenly run into the football pitch while a game is going on; sometimes, goes stack naked as security personals chase him or her about. The fan has elasticize and most likely, he or she is under the influence of alcohol. It’s of concern that about 100 million football fans across the world are alcoholics. Most stadium violence, road accidents recorded during or after a football match has been traced to excessive alcohol in take by those involved.

There has been heightened awareness in recent years that alcohol is a drug with the potential to become addictive. And Doctor will tell you that regular alcohol drinking can also lead to physical deterioration and pregnancy risk among women. So why do managers of UEFA Champions’ League still accept sponsorship from Heineken? Why is the media not reporting the damage such brand association is causing the football world? To many people, it appears double-vision that football sport, which exemplifies a healthy, fit lifestyle, should be used as promotional vehicle for alcoholic products.

Mitchel Thompson, a sport marketing consultant gave the reason – that many managers believe football sport would be less financially viable without sponsorship from breweries.

The second reason why such association with alcohol companies have not been a highly controversial issue is the media, which is usually in the center of creating or at least sustaining public controversies, do not publicize the issue, because it is not in their vested interest to do so. For instance, if a magazine attacked alcohol sponsorship of football in an article, the affected companies could retaliate by withdrawing their advertising from that publication. And no media house can afford that loss. Today, the dominant sponsors of sport across the world are the breweries. They spend in excess of $825 billion annually.

Ade George of Kelgc Sports said, “The issue raised is not about all alcohol products. It is liquor products, not beer, are banned from football sponsorship in Europe and the United States. The breweries and the football community have had a long history. In fact, there is a saying that “Beer drinkers and football fans are one and the same, indivisible, inseparable, identical entities. No one drink more beer than a football fan, and no one likes football better than a beer drinker.” This explains the reason for the substantial investment made in football sponsorship by beer companies such as Heineken, Guinness, Castle beer…

Heineken are the proud sponsors of UEFA Champions League – the most watched sport event on earth. Over 80 billion spectators across the world watched the finals between Manchester United Vs Barcelona in 2011. Most of them were youth between the age of 18 and 35 years. My concern is, Heineken is promoting that it’s natural for this intoxicating drug to be consumed while watching a football match. Heineken promote the image that beer is not so different from soft drink. And it’s negative consequences such as traffic deaths, domestic violence, physical deterioration, and pregnancy risks are down played.

Ade George said, “Sponsorship and advertising activities by beer companies have no effect beyond brand shift among habitual drinkers.” He further pointed out that “when used in moderation, beer has not been shown to be harmful to health.”

But permitting beer companies to sponsor football revolves around two deadly issue: First, Heineken sponsorship of the most watched sport event appear to have conferred on beer an unfortunate reputation of good life.

Second, the sponsorship of football sport enables Heineken and other beer companies to penetrate the youth market.

It’s time football managers and regulatory bodies show some concern. We shouldn’t allow beer companies to keep impacting young people and influencing them to become alcohol addicts. We have to restrict beer sponsorship of football some how.

Five Ways We Can Restrict Beer Companies From Making More Football Fans Alcoholic

1.      Every beer advert must boldly and loudly inscribe the phrase: “Drink Responsibly.”

2.      Beer Advert shouldn’t be directed to children and teenagers in any way.

3.      Beer shouldn’t be promoted as a problem solver or an ingredient for good life.

4.      Prohibit beer companies from organizing football viewing centers or run a football related sales promotions: drink and win a trip to Wembly or give out free samples of beer at football stadium or viewing centers.

5.      Prohibit exclusive on-site sales of sponsors brand of beer at the stadium. Consequently, such exclusivity should not be a condition of sponsorship. The stadium must be a free market for all brand of beverages.

We all know the maxim. “If you’re going to perform as a top-grade athlete, you have to cut out alcohol.”