Thursday, December 8, 2022

SAAPA rallies against alcohol consumption, sales at stadiums

Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA) Botswana has called on the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture to reinstate the ban on sports sponsorship, marketing and consumption of alcohol at sporting activities.

The call was made by SAAPA Botswana in a media release this past Monday, November 7, 2022. It comes in the aftermath of Botswana Football League (BFL)’s recent announcement that alcohol sales and consumption will be allowed at football matches.

BFL has also resumed negotiations with Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) for the latter to sponsor elite football. The negotiations have been ongoing for the past two years and were halted by the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In their press release, SAAPA Botswana says it is ‘deeply disappointed by the recent, ill-informed decision’ by the BFL ‘to now allow alcohol sales at football matches.’ “This decision comes at a time when the country has undersigned the Global Alcohol Action Plan 2022 – 2030 to accelerate evidence-based policy, legislation and programmes to reduce alcohol attributable harm,” the press release reads.

It says the announcement forms part of a series of regressive actions ‘that the government and its development partners have embarked on.’ SAAPA says the move ‘will make soccer stadiums less friendly to the non-drinking populace and increase children’s exposure to alcohol advertising.’

According to SAAPA Botswana, allowing the advertising, sale and consumption of alcohol at soccer stadiums during games will indiscriminately expose the vulnerable groups of our society to the drinking lifestyle and normalize it.

They also call for the BFL ‘to explore other progressive means of mobilising resources and attracting spectators to attend support games.’ SAAPA says if the BFL allows alcohol advertising, sales and consumption, it will be contributing to the country’s drinking problems.

Botswana is said to be among the highest drinking countries in the world with adult per capita alcohol consumption of 8.4 litters of pure alcohol per annum. The consumption is said to be over the continent’s average APC of 6.3 litres per annum.

In the press release, SAAPA Botswana says it aware of the challenges of mobilising resources and sponsorship faced by organisations. It however appeals to the BFL ‘to add its voice to the call for development of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law. If developed, the law would help to mobilise and create a framework for funding of charitable work and sports in the country without the marketing value for industries,” SAAPA says.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper