A red card for football?
For me it was 1979, when Liam Brady scythed his way through the Manchester United midfield to land Arsenal the FA Cup in the dying moments of the game. 10 year old me would have done anything for Liam Brady.
The thing is he didn’t tell me to do anything – the cup wasn’t sponsored, he wore no logo on his shirt and the rickety wooden advertising signs were for Midland Bank and Leyland Cars.
Oh, how things have changed. Coca-Cola and McDonald's permeate football from grass roots kids teams through to the World Cup. We have a cup sponsored by an energy drink, teams sponsored by bookies, a golden boot sponsored by chocolate and the grounds are fully of dazzling screens promoting fizzy drinks and alcohol. The stars of today are telling kids to have a burger, a bet and a beer.
It’s time to ask a simple question – is football a family sport? Are football grounds family places, welcoming and safe for our children?
We have recently joined 57 other leading voices in health care calling on football to drop junk food sponsorship.
Furthermore we call on all in sport to be responsible guardians of our children’s trust. Its time to stop all sponsorship and advertising not suitable for children in grounds, on shirts and featuring our kids sporting heroes.
Please join us, Sugar Smart and Healthy Stadia in calling for change, lend your support here.