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Australia's major brewers have rejected claims made about the impact on children of alcohol deals in football following the release of a study by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

The study highlighted the extent to which alcohol advertising is ingrained within Australia’s two major football codes, the NRL and AFL, and the effects of that exposure on children, The Guardian reported.

According to the report, only one NRL club – Melbourne Storm, and only Western Bulldogs in AFL do not accept money from the alcohol industry, with the rest (15 of the 16 NRL clubs and 17 of 18 in the AFL) having commercial partnerships in place.

The Brewers Association said in a statement today, however, that Australia’s major brewers prided themselves on "responsible marketing and strict adherence to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), which stipulates no alcohol ads can be aired during programming with less than 75 per cent adult viewership".

The Brewers Association noted that OzTAM – Australia’s official source of television audience measurement – revealed that those aged 18+ account for the vast majority of sport viewers, including the 2018 AFL and NRL seasons where 92 per cent and 91 per cent, respectively, of viewers were adults.

"This is set against a backdrop of declining alcohol consumption more generally. Australian Bureau of Statistics data records a steady decline since the 1970s with the most recent data showing alcohol consumption per capita is at a 55-year low," the  Brewers Association said.

Last week, The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) released its annual report revealing 154 complaints were received in 2018, with 21 upheld and 40 dismissed.

The ABAC is a not for profit organisation established to promote responsible alcohol marketing via regulation, education and advice through a code that sets key standards for responsible content and placement of alcohol marketing in Australia.

Harry Jenkins who took over as ABAC chair on 1 July 2018 said, “Since my appointment in June, I have been encouraged that those responsible for ABAC have continued their serious intent to ensure that the scheme operates effectively.”

“In addition I am now fully aware the ABAC operates in a marketing landscape that is ever changing. Our challenge is to keep pace with changes in the digital media landscape”.

Complaints about alcohol marketing were higher this year than over the past four years and code breaches found in 2018 included:

Moon Dog Brewery with complaints regarding an in-store promotion strongly appealing to children.snap-6.jpg

5 Seeds Cider with an Instagram post depicting a woman under the age of 25 drinking.5 Seeds facebook

Ri-Beer-Na Beliner Weisse beer with packaging that appeals to children and creates confusion with the well-known non- alcoholic blackcurrent drink

.ri-beer-na.jpg

Philter Beer with posts on the company's Instagram account that had imagery and captions with heavy sexual references.philter3.jpg

The scheme's Alcohol Advertising Pre-Vetting Service (AAPS) checks alcohol ads prior to publication and is mandatory for advertisements placed in outdoor, television, cinema and radio media but optional for all other media.

The pre-vetting service is said to be an important aspect of ABAC’s work and an effective means of preventing irresponsible alcohol marketing reaching the community.

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