I read somewhere a quote made by a New York journalist when he described his travels through Australia in 1975. ‘Australia is obsessed with Rugby Union football and a fiendish development of the game evolved by themselves called Australian Rules. But the great Australian sport is drinking.’
The new federal government’s Alcohol code is set to change that. Will this be the end of Mad Monday and all those fabulous pub brawls that splash the front page of Sunday’s rags??
Six of Australia’s key sporting bodies have signed up to a National Alcohol Code of Conduct (as part of the Federal Government’s $53.5 million National Binge Drinking Strategy.
The Australian Football League, Netball Australia, Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia, soccer’s Football Federation Australia and the National Rugby League/Australian Rugby League have signed the code.
So I wonder what these $7.2 million dollar handcuffs are actually made of and if they are really going to curb drinking in sport. More importantly, if this code does manage to stop our sporting stars drinking – will it make a difference to the young people that look up to them as role models?
Drinking is intrenched in the culture of grassroots level at a young age. 30% of young people aged between 13 and 17 years, have drunk alcohol at a sporting club and 71% have never been asked for proof of age.
Then you have the whole issue of a rite of passage in clubs and societies. Is drinking an essential part of sport and sporting culture?