Cricket Australia has been accused of censoring one of the Warriors' key advertising messages - that alcohol and sport do not mix - to avoid an embarrassing clash with beer sponsors interstate.
The WA Cricket Association was asked to drop the message "Alcohol and Sport Don't Mix" for signs at the Ryobi Cup series being played in Sydney because it would clash with the XXXX Gold Queensland Bulls and South Australia's West End Redbacks.
Cricket Australia is sponsored by beer brand Victoria Bitter, while the Alcohol Think Again Warriors are sponsored by Healthway as part of a $2.1 million, three-year deal in return for dumping all alcohol and junk food promotion.
McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth director Mike Daube said yesterday Cricket Australia was censoring healthy messages to protect its commercial interests.
"It is bad enough that Cricket Australia allows its top players to be mobile billboards for alcohol, but it is simply shocking that they censor public health agencies from getting our messages out," Professor Daube said.
A Cricket Australia spokesman said it had suggested to the WACA that Healthway reconsider its proposed advertising message because it conflicted with the cricket group's campaign on the relationship between alcohol and sport, which was one of consumption in moderation.
"It is better to engage with the reality that many fans enjoy a responsible drink than it is to turn them off with a prohibition message they don't believe," he said.
But Healthway disputed Cricket Australia's claim it had "suggested" the message be changed and said it had actually objected."The message is simply that you don't need alcohol to enjoy sport, and while the WACA understands that, Cricket Australia is clearly struggling with it," Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua said.