Former England soccer captain and TV presenter Gary Lineker has called for restrictions to be placed on sponsorship and advertising by alcohol and betting brands around sport.
In an interview published in the September edition of GQ, Lineker revealed he has turned down endorsement deals with alcohol firms, stating, "I do not agree with it."
He added: "The other thing that worries me is all the betting advertising and sponsorship in sport. All you ever see is commercials for gambling and apps, it is really dangerous and I think we need to do something about both of them, alcohol and gambling.
"Gambling is just too easy to do now and as a parent I worry about it, all those ads bombarding you with in-play betting."
However, Lineker defended his role as the face of Walkers Crisps, arguing the fight with obesity "is as much about exercise" as diet, and that his ambassadorial role does "no harm at all".
Pressure group Alcohol Concern supported Lineker’s comments, claiming that deals such as David Beckham’s recent agreement with Diageo send a "confusing message" to children about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Tom Smith, policy programme manager at Alcohol Concern, said: "We applaud Gary Lineker going public with his criticism of alcohol sponsorship of football. Sadly, the game is saturated with it even though huge numbers of the audience are children.
"We need more high-profile figures like him to come forward and say that it’s time football is alcohol sponsorship-free. We also need more players to follow his lead and say no to personal sponsorship deals with alcohol companies.
"The Government acknowledges the link between alcohol advertising and drinking, particularly in under 18s, which is why we are calling for tougher action on alcohol advertising in sport."
(This article first appeared on www.marketingmagazine.co.uk)
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