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Celebrate, inebriate and commiserate

By now everyone must know Leicester City, a minnow in British soccer, won the Premier League Football Championship.

At season start it was an impossible dream for the small, comparatively poor club compared to the giants such as Manchester United. Leicester City’s victory is a victory for the underdog, proving money doesn’t always buy success, and for that it is celebrated across the world.

Leicester City is not without sponsors, however. Among their ‘Club Partners’ is Singha Beer.

Celebrate is what the club’s supporters did. Unfortunately, for many Leicester City supporters, that meant drinking an enormous amount of alcohol. Double the usual number of people were taken to the emergency section of the local hospital for alcohol related injury on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Next day the Leicester Royal Infirmary asked people who did not need emergency care to seek healthcare advice via the telephone instead of attending the hospital as the staff could not cope with more drunks.

This event raises two issues: why do we associate celebration with getting rotten drunk? It is not restricted just to football fans or sports spectators. Adolescents insist they must have alcohol at their 15th birthday party and school leavers organise a long booze up to commemorate their graduation.

Second, where is the sponsor? All alcohol companies claim they promote “responsible drinking” and say they don’t want their customers drinking too much. So what is their response when their patrons “over-indulge”? Do they issue statements of regret that their ‘valued product’ is misused by people who subsequently got hurt as a result of intoxication? Are they disappointed that people who got intoxicated are harming themselves and putting their lives at risk?

To our knowledge Singha Beer has been silent following the alcoholic carnage at Leicester City. No comment, no disappointment, no regret.

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We sort of understand their reticence –alcohol companies depend on the 20% of drinkers who consume 70% of alcohol sold so if the punters stopped bingeing, we know where that would end.

Spare a thought for the Leicester City fans who now can’t remember the team’s one-day-in-a-lifetime due to an alcoholic blackout.

And we continue to allow alcohol brands to sponsor sport.

Note: photo from the Singha Beer Facebook page