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Journal article

Alcohol consumption in amateur Australian Rules football clubs: evidence from a rural region

1 Jan 2000

Issue addressed: The extent to which amateur rural sporting clubs are settings in which harmful and hazardous levels of alcohol are consumed by players, supporters and officials. Methods: A survey of respondents in 13 rural sporting clubs across four amateur Australian rules football leagues in the Gippsland region, east of Melbourne. Results: Surveys were returned by 278 respondents (approximately one quarter of those surveyed). Findings indicate that over a third of respondents typically consume seven or more alcoholic drinks each time they attend their local sporting club, indicating harmful alcohol consumption according to National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines. A further 17% drink at levels deemed hazardous according to NHMRC guidelines. Young male players emerged as the heavy drinkers, with 56% of this group typically consuming seven or more alcoholic drinks at their club. High levels of concern regarding drink driving and under-age drinking were recorded; however, few respondents reported that relevant harm minimisation strategies (such as bar staff training, designated driver programs and hosting of alcohol-free functions) were in place in their local club to promote responsible service and consumption of alcohol. Conclusions: Sporting clubs are important social and recreational settings, particularly in rural communities. The present findings indicate, however, that they can also be settings in which harmful levels of alcohol are consumed. So what?: The findings reported here suggest that rural sporting clubs should be targeted as health promotion settings so that policies and practices which promote the responsible service and consumption of alcohol can be developed, implemented and evaluated.

Publication Details
Vol. 10
No. 3
Published year only: 
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage