Why is responsible use of alcohol important in sport settings?

Every year in Australia alcohol consumption results in 29,694 in-patient hospitalisations, 8,349 emergency admissions, 13,000 people seeking treatment for alcohol problems and 728 alcohol-related deaths (Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, 2015).

Sporting organisations can provide an environment that supports the responsible use of alcohol and encourage responsible drinking, as well as promoting a greater awareness around the risk of excessive alcohol consumption. Sporting organisations can work towards implementing strategies within their clubs that ensures the best measures are taken to provide a healthy, safe and welcoming environment that encourages the Responsible Use of Alcohol across all sport settings.

Sporting organisations that serve alcohol must be aware of the associated risk factors of alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant drug and when consumed will affect a person’s brain and central nervous system. Adverse effects of alcohol consumption can include:

  • Hangovers
  • Reduced coordination, concentration and reflexes
  • Dehydration
  • Reduced stamina and performance
  • Reduced recovery from sporting injuries
  • Undesirable actions including risky behaviour, violence, and aggression

In the long term it can also affect:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Personal/social life


Aside from the associated health implications for individuals who consume alcohol, sporting organisations should also consider other key factors to ensure the responsible service of alcohol, including:

  • Adherence to legislative requirements
  • Creating family friendly environments
  • Improving club culture/reputation
  • Demonstrating leadership around responsible alcohol consumption within the community
  • Ensuring the safety of all

Responsible alcohol consumption and the removed focus of a drinking culture in sport can help to provide family friendly environments” (Heathy Sporting Environments evaluation).