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Football team criticised for brewery deal

Swiss striker, Alex Frei, in action against Germany, which are also sponsored by a brewery

(Keystone)

The Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Addiction has criticised the Swiss national football team’s new sponsorship deal with Carlsberg.

It said the brewery’s sponsorship of the team would send out the wrong message to young people and undermine alcohol prevention efforts.

The Lausanne-based institute condemned the football body’s decision at a time when beer consumption, as well as binge drinking, is on the rise among Swiss youth.

It said Carlsberg’s omnipresent advertising at Euro 2004 had already reached millions of football fans, including young people and children.

“Many young fans worship the players on their national teams, and therefore it is counterproductive for top athletes to promote beer, since it undermines prevention efforts,” the institute said in a statement.

“Alcohol and sport simply do not go together,” it concluded.

Bad combination

But Peter Gilliéron, spokesman for the Swiss Football Association, told swissinfo that sponsorship should not be confused with marketing, since the association is not obliged to promote Carlsberg products.

Gilliéron pointed out that the European football governing body, Uefa, and the world football governing body, Fifa, both ban the sale of alcohol at all international matches.

“The Swiss Football Association has also chosen to ban alcohol during friendly matches, even though it is permitted,” he said.

Gilliéron added that Carlsberg was an obvious choice as a sponsor because of its involvement with Euro 2004 and the next European championships in 2008, which will be hosted jointly by Switzerland and Austria.

And the Swiss side are not the only team in Europe to be sponsored by a brewery.

Besides Euro 2004, Carlsberg sponsors the Danish and English teams, and other beer makers provide official backing for the German, Czech and Dutch sides.

swissinfo

In brief

An alcohol prevention office has criticised a decision by the Swiss football team to sign a sponsorship deal with the brewery, Carlsberg.

The office says the deal undermines prevention efforts at a time when consumption among young people is on the rise.

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