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Alcohol consumption and sport: a cross-sectional study of alcohol management practices associated with at-risk alcohol consumption at community football clubs

Melanie Kingsland12*, Luke Wolfenden13, Bosco C Rowland4, Karen E Gillham2, Vanessa J Kennedy5, Robyn L Ramsden45, Richard W Colbran5, Sarah Weir2 and John H Wiggers12

Author affiliations

1 The University of Newcastle, School of Medicine and Public Health, Callaghan, New South Wales 2308, Australia

2 Hunter New England Population Health, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, New South Wales 2287, Australia

3 NSW Cancer Institute, Australian Technology Park, Level 9, 8 Central Avenue, Eveleigh, New South Wales 2015, Australia

4 Deakin University, Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia

5 Australian Drug Foundation, Level 12, 607 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:762  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-762

Published: 16 August 2013



Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for considerable harm from chronic disease and injury. Within most developed countries, members of sporting clubs participate in at-risk alcohol consumption at levels above that of communities generally. There has been limited research investigating the predictors of at-risk alcohol consumption in sporting settings, particularly at the non-elite level. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between the alcohol management practices and characteristics of community football clubs and at-risk alcohol consumption by club members.


A cross sectional survey of community football club management representatives and members was conducted. Logistic regression analysis (adjusting for clustering by club) was used to determine the association between the alcohol management practices (including alcohol management policy, alcohol-related sponsorship, availability of low- and non-alcoholic drinks, and alcohol-related promotions, awards and prizes) and characteristics (football code, size and location) of sporting clubs and at-risk alcohol consumption by club members.


Members of clubs that served alcohol to intoxicated people [OR: 2.23 (95% CI: 1.26-3.93)], conducted ‘happy hour’ promotions [OR: 2.84 (95% CI: 1.84-4.38)] or provided alcohol-only awards and prizes [OR: 1.80 (95% CI: 1.16-2.80)] were at significantly greater odds of consuming alcohol at risky levels than members of clubs that did not have such alcohol management practices. At-risk alcohol consumption was also more likely among members of clubs with less than 150 players compared with larger clubs [OR:1.45 (95% CI: 1.02-2.05)] and amongst members of particular football codes.


The findings of this study suggest a need and opportunity for the implementation of alcohol harm reduction strategies targeting specific alcohol management practices at community football clubs.

Alcohol drinking; Sports; Public health