On Tuesday 26 September, during the European Week of Sport, the charity Alcohol Concern Cymru is seeking to highlight the complex relationship between alcohol and sport through their ‘Hitting the bar’ conference. The keynote speech will be delivered by the Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans AM.

The European Week of Sport is a Europe-wide initiative to raise awareness of the benefits of sport and physical activity.

There are few things in Wales that unite, motivate and engage people like sport – and whether we are a participant or a fan, whether we are celebrating or commiserating losses, alcohol usually plays a key role. Many of our major sporting events are sponsored by alcohol companies, and grassroots sports clubs are often reliant on alcohol industry funding and alcohol sales at the bar.

Alcohol Concern Cymru’s upcoming conference ‘Hitting the bar’, taking place at the Cardiff City Stadium, will discuss whether alcohol can ever be good for the game or if it is time to commit to a new plan.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Andrew Misell, Director of Alcohol Concern Cymru said:

“Sport and alcohol often go hand-in-hand, particularly in amateur sport where booze can be a big part of the social life of the local club. Drinking has long been viewed as a good way for teammates to bond and build camaraderie, and clubhouses are usually full to the brim on weekends with drinkers there to watch football or rugby on the big screen.

“But are sport and alcohol such a good match? Are we sending out contradictory messages where we encourage kids and adults to play sport and be active, yet are providing an unhealthy environment in which to do it? Does a culture of big drinking at clubs and sports events actually deter some people from getting involved in sport in the first place? Should we be worried that some studies show that people who participate in sport are more likely to drink heavily? These are the kinds of questions we’ll being seeking to answer at our event, and find out how sport can change its relationship with alcohol for the better.”

The ‘Hitting the bar’ conference will hear from leading experts from the UK and beyond, including Dr Richard Purves from Stirling University who will discuss the impact of alcohol marketing during Euro 2016, and Dr Melanie Kingsland from the University of Newcastle, Australia, examining how reducing the dominance of alcohol in sport clubs might promote inclusivity and increase participation.

Book your places