Henry McLeish, the Former First Minister of Scotland and ex-professional footballer, is urging the country’s Government to end alcohol advertising in sports.

The BBC has reported research that suggests Scotland has more drink-focused adverts in top-level football than most European leagues. Meanwhile, half of the country’s Premiership teams have at least one alcohol company as a partner or main sponsor.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government stated that alcohol companies could face tighter restrictions on advertising to protect those most vulnerable to problem drinking under new proposals. This follows the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing, which has reduced purchases of cheaper, more potent alcoholic drinks.

Public Health Minister, Maree Todd, said: “There is clear evidence that adverts which glamorise drinking can encourage young people to drink alcohol and have a detrimental impact on those in recovery from problem alcohol use.”

McLeish’s intervention comes after the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems found only Belgium had a higher proportion of such adverts than Scotland.

A new campaign has also been launched by the group named Calling Time, which aims to push for a ban on alcohol sponsorship to tackle the problem.

“We must find a better way to finance Scottish football, finding sponsors with values that align with sports and community, and that’s why I support today’s call for a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports,” McLeish noted.

Furthermore, a Scottish Government spokesman outlined that they would encourage sporting organisations to ‘diversify sponsorship away from the alcohol industry’, due to concerns of it encouraging young people to drink alcohol and having a ‘detrimental impact on those in recovery from problem drinking’.

The consultation on alcohol advertising in Scotland will run for 16 weeks to allow for the Christmas holiday period and February recess, closing on 9 March 2023.

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