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Sports bodies opposed to ban of alcohol adverts

Cape sports associations are opposing changes to the legislation that could see alcohol advertisements banned in sport.

This follows a statement released by the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Saapa) announcing their support for the ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport.

At the moment, a Liquor Amendment Bill, which seeks to ban alcohol advertisements in broadcasting and also raise the legal drinking age to 21, is before cabinet.

In its statement, Saapa said: “What Saapa is calling for is simply to ban alcohol advertising and sponsorship in sport and other sectors, coupled with an increase in the price of alcohol products, an increase in the legal age of purchasing, and an expansion of the liability for harm to producers, distributors, marketers and traders.”

Saapa said it is aware of many other industries that would love to fund sport.

“The return value on the investment has been demonstrated by Sunfoil’s sponsorship of cricket. The alcohol industry can support sport - but, by paying their tax to government and letting government sponsor and invest in sport. Government should get the accolades for doing so, rather than help to market alcohol,” Saapa said.

However, provincial sports associations have disagreed.

President of the provincial SA Football Association, Bennett Bailey, said sport would suffer should this ban go through to legislation.

“If there is a ban on advertising, that means alcohol companies would withdraw from sport. Sport will suffer because it’s difficult to get funding, especially in amateur sports,” he said.

Bailey made reference to the SAB League which he said was the highest amateur league which groomed young sports stars.

“When they banned tobacco (advertising) we were promised that the levies of tobacco utilisation would find their way back to sport, but that never happened,” he said.

President of the Western Province Cricket Association Beresford Williams also raised concerns over revenue.

“It will be difficult to sustain the game if alcohol advertisements were banned. We are struggling as it is,” said Williams.

SA Liquor Brand-Owners Association chairperson Sibani Mngadi said Saapa’s suggestion is for the country to go back to isolation as far as global sports is concerned.

“The Soccer World Cup coming in Russia in June is sponsored by a beer brand, and so is the Uefa Cup currently under way. If followed, Saapa’s proposal will mean that South Africans should never watch these global tournaments.

“President Ramaphosa has called on all of us to work together to reignite the economy and create jobs.

"Proposals with such serious economic implications run contrary to sentiments that the current government wants to convey to investors,” said Mngadi.

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