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Balance backs Wearside youth team ahead of World Cup

Balance supports Farringdon Detached FC

Balance supports Farringdon Detached FC

Posted 11/06/14

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is urging for time to be called on alcohol sports sponsorship.

Coinciding with the start of the FIFA World Cup, Balance is launching the ‘alcohol sponsorship: let’s kick it out’ campaign to highlight the influence that alcohol marketing, and in particular sports sponsorship, has on children and young people.

To kick off the campaign and in a show of commitment to local organisations already working tirelessly to give North East children the best start to a healthy life by encouraging sports participation, Balance has sponsored a team kit for Farringdon Detached FC in Sunderland.

The under 15s team at the grassroots football club will be kitted out in a new strip for the next two seasons thanks to the deal.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “We’re proud to be able to sponsor Farringdon Detached’s under 15s team kit. The club has contributed to nurturing the talents of young people in Sunderland for a number of years. It’s important for sports clubs such as this to engage children in sport and encourage them to live healthy, happy lives.”

The alcohol industry spends in the region of £800m a year on marketing so it’s no surprise that many youngsters now recognise alcohol brands more than leading biscuit brands.

The recent FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull at Wembley Stadium was watched by around 1 million children in the UK during which sponsors Budweiser bombarded viewers with an array of advertisements.

From the dressing room to the dugouts to the pitch-side signage and even the players’ shirts, for youngsters enjoying the game there was no escape from the kind of excessive alcohol promotion that dominates many major sports events.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, added: “Young people today are exposed to alcohol marketing when they turn on the TV, radio, and even at the cinema so it’s not realistic to expect them to be able to make healthy decisions around alcohol when the messages they receive promote drinking as the social norm.

“Alcohol advertising on TV is seen more often by children than adults and that kind of exposure has a huge impact on their attitudes towards drinking. You only have to look at research which showed that 11 year olds are more familiar with leading alcohol brands than those of leading biscuit or ice-cream brands to realise the scale of the problem.

“Sport appeals to all age groups and football in particular is followed by large numbers of children and young people. Our children should be able to watch their favourite sports without being constantly exposed to alcohol marketing.

“The UK has one of the most relaxed approaches to alcohol sponsorship and sport in Europe. France has already implemented a ban and Ireland is considering a similar approach. It’s time for us to follow suit.”

Farringdon Detached FC was set up in 2003 with just one team at under 16 level but the club has continued to grow in size year on year. It now has a total of 14 teams with both boys and girls from under 8s to adults.

Ian Stewart, Chairman and Coach at Farringdon Detached, said: “We are very happy to welcome Balance on board as a club sponsor – it is support like this that enables us to continue offering young people in the area an opportunity to play football. We fully support Balance and its campaign and, as a club, we also continually strive to educate our players on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and engaging in sport.”

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health Housing and Adult Services, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “We very much support the work Balance carries out locally to make Sunderland a healthier and safer place to live by tackling alcohol misuse. Children and young people are bombarded with advertising on a daily basis and it’s inevitable that this has an impact on how they view alcohol so we’re fully behind Balance’s campaign to call time on alcohol sponsorship.”