- What is the available evidence on the relationship between alcohol consumption and problem behaviours.
- What is the available evidence on fans' preferences and expectations regarding alcohol at international football events.
- What is the available evidence on international approaches to managing the sale and consumption of alcohol at football events.
- What is the available evidence on the effectiveness and fans' perception of these approaches.
Consumption of alcohol is part of the experience of watching major international football events for fans in many parts of the world (Lee Ludvigsen 2018; Wong & Chadwick 2017; Dart 2009). Indeed, there is a long-standing relationship between international football and the alcoholic beverage industry: Heineken has been an official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 1994 (Faw 2017) and Budweiser has been one of the main sponsors of the FIFA World Cup. FIFA General Secretary J&eacure;rôe;me Valcke stated in the run-up to the 2012 World Cup: 'Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we're going to have them' (Cording 2018).
Alcohol is recognised as a factor that may contribute to antisocial and violent behaviour at football matches although the causal relationship remains unclear (the evidence on this point is reviewed in Strang et al. (2018), a separate report produced as part of this project for Qatar University). Organisers of major football events are faced with the challenge of delivering an experience that meets spectators' expectations while ensuring a healthy and safe environment for all.
As part of its objective to review evidence on alcohol and international football, this case study focuses in particular on:
- The relationship between alcohol consumption and problem behaviours.
- Fans' preferences and expectations regarding alcohol at international football events.
- International approaches to managing the sale and consumption of alcohol at football events.
- The effectiveness and fans' perception of these approaches.
- Alcohol is a common feature at international football events, although not all fans drink alcohol, and not all fans who consume alcohol become intoxicated.
- There are significant cultural differences in attitudes to alcohol across and within countries, but fans from many parts of the world expect to be able to consume alcohol as part of the experience of watching international football matches.
- While alcohol may be a factor contributing to antisocial behaviour, there is no robust evidence clearly linking alcohol consumption to disorder at the group level during football matches. However, organisers at most domestic and international football events try to restrict the consumption of alcohol and employ strategies to respond to people who are intoxicated.
- A range of alcohol control strategies have been implemented at previous international events, both inside and outside stadiums. However, there is no robust evidence that alcohol control strategies such as bans on consumption are effective in reducing antisocial and violent behaviour.
- Some international lessons pertaining to alcohol may not be transferrable to the Qatari context. For instance, existing alcohol restrictions in Qatar and the absence of unsanctioned sources of alcohol may make alcohol control strategies more effective.
- Planned alcohol restrictions should be communicated to fans and local stakeholders well in advance of a sporting event; too restrictive a regime may play a role in fans' decisions about whether to travel to Qatar for an event.
The research described in this report was commissioned by Qatar University and conducted by RAND Europe.
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