Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Footballers, Alcohol And Clubs

Manly rugby league player Brett Stewar has been charged with the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl, who lives in the same apartment block as he. After several days, the NSWRL has suspended Stewart, after Manly indicated it would select Stewart to play this Friday. The NSWRL is concerned about bad publicity, and trouble at the game against the Bulldogs (Canterbury). Some social networking site users have reportedly planned to target Stewart.

There is a significant history with football players and alcohol. Todd Carney has just been sentenced by a Goulburn court for damage to property, including shop fronts and a car. He claims he couldn't remember the incidents because he was drunk. Among other conditions, Carney is not to return to Goulburn for 12 months, and to seek alcohol counselling. Yet, he is going to North Queensland to play for a district club ... and work in a pub! Presumably the QRL sees no problem with this, even given conditions of his sentence.

Bigger questions arise:
  • are pubs or clubs legally liable for players being drunk at official club functions?
  • what liability exists for allowing, even forcing, players, members or visitors to leave drunk?
  • how do those serving alcohol determine sufficient drunkenness to refuse alcohol?
  • what responsibility does any sporting organisation, club, or pub have to meet national guidelines for the consumption of alcohol?
  • if a club knowingly allows players to become drunk at an official function, and a player subsequently commits acts of violence, does the club bear any civil liability?
Ho much alcohol is "too much", and which could affect your health, and ability to function appropriately in society? A study commissionied by the NHMRC found that
"For males, the average daily intake should not exceed a level between 25g and 45g per day"
( , p55)

This is about 2-4 standard drinks on any day, given a "standard drink" in the same study was defined as one having 10g of pure alcohol.

Alcohol remains a serious problem, for all sporting asociations and clubs, and, it seems, especially for rugby league!