SHAAP and Scottish Women’s Football launch guidance for youth players on the effects of alcohol

Scotland’s elite youth players in women’s football are being reminded about the adverse impact of alcohol on their health and ability to compete at the highest level.

To mark the final month of the historic partnership between expert medical group Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and Scottish Women’s Football (SWF), guidance for youth players on the impact of alcohol has being launched via SWF’s social media channel and will be distributed to clubs.

This weekend saw Rangers U18s lift the 18s National Academy Programme trophy as teams in the SHAAP-sponsored NAP, which fosters the stars of tomorrow and includes Scotland’s biggest clubs, kicked off their league cup campaigns in what will be a thrilling climax to the elite game’s season.

The guidance highlights the impact alcohol has on physical and mental health, from impairing coordination ability through to fatigue and anxiety, all of which affect players on and off the pitch. It comes on the back of a survey of youth players which showed that despite being underage and playing football at an elite level, a sizeable proportion of those surveyed had tried alcohol. The guidance aims to encourage players who want to excel at the game to keep away from alcohol because of the negative impacts it has on performance.

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, Chair of SHAAP, said:

“SWF is leading the way on alcohol sponsorship which is why SHAAP agreed to sponsor the National Academy Programme. As our partnership draws to a close, this new guidance will better support players in relation to their decisions on alcohol consumption and has been compiled in response to feedback which shows just how much alcohol features in the daily lives of youth players, via marketing and people around them drinking alcohol.”

Vivienne Maclaren, Chair of SWF, said:

“Congratulations to Rangers for winning the 18s NAP league and to Hearts for winning the 16s NAP League. The NAP league cup not only provides an exciting end to the season for the most talented girls in Scotland, it is also a great platform for our historic partnership with SHAAP.

“We have a duty of care towards the girls in our game and we should do everything we can to promote positive and healthy lifestyles. This is why we will not accept sponsorship from the alcohol industry and is why we are delighted to now be able to provide guidance to clubs and youth players on the effects of alcohol both on their health and ability to play football. This is our contribution to reducing alcohol harms but it’s clear that as a society, Scotland has a long way to go.”

The Full guidance is available here

Survey of SWF youth players available here

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