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UK: Sport, music alcohol tie-ups under spotlight with new code

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Drinks companies that sponsor sport, music and cultural events in the UK will  be monitored under a new industry code being introduced today (31 January). 

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The Portman Group's 'Alcohol Sponsorship Code' includes guidelines on ensuring firms promote responsible drinking through their tie-ups with sports, arts and entertainment groups. 

The code ask companies to "use their reasonable endeavours to obtain data on the expected participants, audience or spectator profile (at events) to ensure that at least the aggregate of 75% are aged over 18". 

Asked about sanctions, a Portman Group spokesperson said producers will “risk significant reputational damage if they break the new code through negative publicity with the financial cost of having to renegotiate a sponsorship agreement or withdrawing it completely”. 

The spokesperson added: “There is a further long-term risk to brands in that no leading venue, event or team will want to be associated with an irresponsible drinks company.” 

However, there is no direct financial penalty for a breach of the code. And where a complaint is resolved on a fast-track basis, it will not be made public. 

The Portman Group has ten member companies, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Diageo and Pernod Ricard

In Ireland, a proposed ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport has been deferred by the Government. Former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh previously branded the ban "ridiculous"


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