Good Sports

Good Sports - Healthy Clubs, Strong Communities


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Alcohol and sport are historically closely linked in Australia. Most major sporting competitions and teams promote and advertise alcohol consumption and many sports clubs have a tradition of heavy drinking. A large number of clubs depend on revenue from alcohol to finance club activities.

The Good Sports program is an initiative of the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) to develop safer and healthier communities. The program helps sporting clubs manage alcohol responsibly and reduce alcohol related problems such as binge and underage drinking.

Good Sports is recognised in the community health sector for its extensiveresearch.  The program is evidence-based and evaluation continues on an on-going basis.

Displaying the Good Sports logo sends an important message to club members and the community. It confirms that the club promotes a responsible attitude towards alcohol and that it provides a safe environment for players, members, families and supporters.

How does the program work?

The key strategy of Good Sports is the accreditation program. The three level accreditation criteria consist of a set of alcohol management standards for clubs that serve and consume alcohol. Clubs are required to move through the levels in a set amount of time (maximum 5 years), maintaining all the criteria from previous levels as they do so.

One of the key benefits to clubs of registering in the free program is thesupport that they receive in changing culture. A Good Sports Project Officer assists club committee members through the entire process.

Level 1:

  • Liquor license
  • Bar management (RSA training)
  • Smoke-free

Level 2:

  • Maintenance of Level 1 criteria
  • Enhanced bar management (RSA training, etc.)
  • Food and drink (low and non alcoholic) options
  • Safe transport policy
  • Diverse revenue generation

Level 3:

  • Maintenance of Level 1 & 2 criteria
  • Alcohol management policy

At each level, the club must promote their involvement in the program to their members.

Clubs that do not serve or consume alcohol may apply for Level 0:

Level 0:

  • Alcohol-free facilities
  • Smoke-free
  • Diverse revenue generation
  • Promotion (Good Sports program)
  • Safe transport policy
  • Alcohol management policy

Good Sports has been adopted by a diverse range of community sports clubs. It is currently operating in the majority of states in Australia (and the Northern Territory) with a total of over 2900 clubs involved.

Evidence, gathered over the past two decades, demonstrates that community-based sports clubs contribute to alcohol problems by accepting and promoting excessive drinking and providing inappropriate role models for young people.

Research has been conducted over a number of years to gauge the size of the issue and how Good Sports, over time, is supporting clubs to change their culture.

A a study of more than 500 young people found:

  • more than 30% of 13-17 year olds had participated in unsupervised drinking at a sports club… 71% of these had never been asked for proof of age. [1]

Another survey among sporting club members found:

  • 51% of drinkers at sports clubs are consuming alcohol at harmful or hazardous levels. [2]

A study of community football clubs in 2000 showed:

  • 13% of 18-20 year olds drank 13 or more standard drinks each time they visited the club
  • 83% left the club as the driver of a vehicle. [3]
  • 70% of males (30% of females) believe drinking is an important tradition at their club.

Further, more recent research conducted in community sports clubs across Australia found:

  • 20% of men aged 18-30 consume 10 or more standard drinks each time they visit the club. [4]

  1. Survey conducted by Australian Drug Foundation, Centre for Youth Drug Studies (CYDS) 1994
  2. Survey conducted by CYDS 1999, Hazardous Levels as defined by National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  3. Survey conducted by CYDS 2000
  4. National Attitudes and Behaviours study-conducted by CYDS 2004

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