GippSport is the Regional Sports Assembly servicing South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shire Councils, as well as the other Local Government Areas in Gippsland. One of the programs our staff members deliver is the Good Sports Program which is seen as a way to promote responsible use and serving of alcohol within sporting clubs.
Furthermore, we are also implementing the Healthy Sporting Environment Program which has six key modules which help sporting clubs to promote healthy messages within their clubs. One of the modules in this program also is the responsible management of alcohol. The fact that these major health promotion initiatives exist, is that sporting clubs are very important places to train, educate and create leadership opportunities for the many volunteers who work with many participants of all ages in our communities. We appreciate the support of the editors of the local papers who have also published articles which GippSport has provided in regard to our programs.
We have been reviewing the local papers this week and while we acknowledge the great work done by the papers in promoting sport we were concerned with the photos of the Kilcunda Bass Football Club and the Korumburra Bena Football Club after winning their grand final matches. The photos display:
– Many photos of players holding cans of full strength beer
– Photos of players actually consuming alcohol
– One player has three cans of alcohol in one hand
These photos indicate that sporting clubs encourage excessive consumption of alcohol. We have also written letters to the sporting clubs involved to ask them to think about this issue and hope that the papers may also think about ways that this could be improved in the future. It is recognized that the time after the Grand Final is challenging for all involved. Some leagues have banned alcohol on the playing field and this has worked very well. We are certainly going to discuss this with the Alberton Football League. We are seeking your support to eradicate this “tradition” of having players photographed with alcohol in their possession after winning a flag. I am pleased to let you know that many papers in our Gippsland region published photos this week of premiership teams without any evidence of alcohol at all. Barry Switzer, Executive Officer, GippSport
Sentinel-Times’ comment: It is not the role of journalists attending sporting events to dictate terms to participants or to affect the outcome of public events. In fact, any attempt on their part to affect the behaviour of players, club officials and league representatives might open them up to criticism. So, we won’t be asking players to “put down the cans, boys or girls”. This is correctly the role of someone in authority at participating clubs or the league if that’s what they wish to do, bearing in mind that the responsible consumption of alcohol is a legal and popular pastime. It might interest GippSport to know that the Sentinel-Times printed a forthright editorial on obnoxious behaviour at the football in the week leading up to the Alberton league grand final.