Sport clubs get drink message

More WA sporting clubs are moving away from happy hours and long, boozy after-match drinks as part of a shift from the binge culture that many once survived on.

South Perth Cricket Club has become the 100th club in WA to get accreditation with Good Sports, a community program of the Australian Drug Foundation.

Funded in WA by Healthway and the Drug and Alcohol Office, the program encourages sporting clubs to review how they use alcohol and what measures they can take to reduce risky behaviour such as binge drinking and drink-driving.

It was launched in 2012 and works with more than 300 clubs in WA to make them healthier, safer places.

Good Sports WA manager Greg Williams said a strong association between alcohol, celebrations and camaraderie was rife in sporting clubs.

"The link between participation in sport and risky consumption of alcohol in many clubs is so ingrained it is not initially visible to committees and members of the club," he said.

"Small changes, such as removing happy hours, which can essentially provide opportunities for players to preload at the club before moving elsewhere after the game, and arranging safe transport, can make a significant difference in reducing alcohol- related harm."

Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua said there was now a cultural change that getting drunk did not have to be an integral part of sport.

"You can play the game and get together afterwards but you don't have to get drunk," she said.

South Perth Cricket Club vice-president Ben Hartley said cricket had been associated with alcohol and the funding that came with it, so the program helped to find other income streams such as hiring out premises.

"It's not about saying we can't have alcohol at the club, but in this day and age we want to be more responsible," he said.

The club has the support of the City of South Perth.

The West Australian

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