Football clubs criticised for serving bigger, cheaper beers

Summary

Flemish addiction experts are concerned about the increase in the cup size at football clubs, saying that increasing fans’ consumption of beer shouldn’t be encouraged

Cheers

VAD, the Flemish expertise centre for addiction problems related to alcohol, drugs and gambling, has criticised a decision by two first-division football clubs to sell supporters cheaper beer in larger quantities. The new season kicked off last weekend.

According to Waasland-Beveren, the move is intended to “strengthen the bond with supporters,” a spokesperson said. “Previously, a 25cl beer sold for €2,” the spokesperson said. “Now we’ll be selling 33cl for €2.50. And we’ll also be serving half-litres, so you don’t have to leave the stands to go to the bar as often.”

Club Brugge, meanwhile, is planning a similar change. KAA Gent changed two years ago. VAD director Marijs Geirnaert described the moves as sending “completely the wrong signal. The current trend is for less promotion of alcohol and more responsible consumption. 

The clubs should be taking action in the opposite direction, she said: “more expensive and smaller beers. Especially since abuse of alcohol is responsible for football-related problems like hooliganism and vandalism.”

Waasland-Beveren said it was counting on the common sense of its fans. “We’re not encouraging anyone to drink themselves into a stupor,” the spokesperson said. “We’re also selling Jupiler 0.0% starting this season.” 

Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League is sponsored by brewer AB Inbev and named after its best-selling pils. Pro League CEO Pierre François said that alcohol-free beer is a welcome option. “The alcohol-free version should be a permanent option inside stadiums. But that happens step by step, and you have to take account of the beer culture in this country.”

Photo: Bruno Fahy/BELGA