FYFA management meeting has been concluded and we are full of plans and ideas on moving forward. We were inspired by the following words of Nelson Mandela:
"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all kinds of discrimination."
With these resources we are hoping to influence sports organizations to enable even healthier environments for young people.
An international review of polices relating to young people, alcohol, marketing and sports is the main deliverable of Work Package 4 of the FYFA project. The review was led by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and support given by the European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare).
The review was carried out in three stages, namely, a review of academic literature; analysis of International Sporting Bodies and Federations Websites to access information on Policies and Programmes, and uniquely interviews conducted with representatives from International Bodies.
Interestingly, out of the 36 federations analysed, only 2 have banned marketing and sponsorship by the alcohol industry, 13 have 'no policy'. Federations appear not to have considered any potential negative implications of alcohol marketing with young people. Instead, the emphasis is generally placed on the safety of people within stadiums and responsible drinking promoted.
There are many programmes funded through International Sporting Bodies that support young people (particularly those who may be disadvantaged and marginalised) to be educated about alcohol harms and/or diverted away from these, indicating that organisations are aware about the risks of harm to young people from alcohol.
The review concludes that at present International Sporting Bodies stance on alcohol harm to young people is unclear and inconsistent. Sport can and does help promote healthy lifestyles, including supporting activities to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms. It can be a powerful tool for the positive and it is argued that this should include the messages International Sporting Bodies decide to promote, and there is a call for them to consider, review and change their activities in this sphere.