City of Vantaa considering ban on sales of alcoholic beverages at sports competitions
The City of Vantaa plans to prohibit sales of beer and cider at all athletic contests and sports events which are not meant for adults only.
The issue will be handled at the city’s Health and Social Welfare Committee on Wednesday next week.
The project was launched already last autumn, but at that point the committee regarded the scheme as too convoluted and returned it to officials for further drafting.
Now the rules have been made more explicit, and the committee is preparing to propose to the City Board that the serving of alcoholic beverages would be prohibited at public events in Vantaa, if children are to be present.
According to the Chair of the Health and Social Welfare Committee, Simo Pokki, (SDP) this is a symbolic gesture.
"In Vantaa, the costs for intoxicant care have doubled over the course of five to six years, and alcohol abuse has been detected behind many child welfare cases", Pokki argued on Thursday when questioned about the justification of such a ban.
"We want to send people a certain signal and to restrict the availability of alcohol in sports events where families are present", he noted.
Vantaa is also one of the so-called municipal partners in the national Alcohol Programme 2004-2007, compiled by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The aim of the programme is to prevent the adverse effect of individual drinking occasions, among other things.
Pokki noted further that the licence policy pertaining to the sale of alcoholic beverages at cultural events and popular festivals would not be tightened up. For example, the annual Ankkarock Festival in Vantaa’s district of Korso in the summer would not come under threat, he said.
Sports enthusiasts in Vantaa have been nervous about the threat of the planned prohibition, as the selling of alcoholic beverages is a significant source of income for sports clubs.
In Pokki’s view, the clubs have to find new ways to finance their activities, as sports, families, and alcohol do not make a good combination.
Alcohol licences are granted by the State Provincial Office. However, while leasing its property to the organisers of certain events, the city has its say on the licences.
For example, alcohol beverages could still be served at all division matches of ball games, which now have licences that are valid until further notice or for a fixed period.
In 2006, a total of 16 alcohol licences were granted for events that were arranged in Vantaa.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health