Alcohol Endorsement: Insights from Sri Lanka’s Cricket Tradition

Posted on April 12, 2024 in Promotion, Sri Lanka

Colombo recently hosted the 145th edition of the renowned inter-school cricket rivalry between Royal College and St. Thomas College. This annual event brings together alumni, students, and cricket enthusiasts for three days of thrilling matches and entertainment. 

All the famous big matches around Colombo typically take place in premium venues where alcohol is prevalent. Beer stalls are strategically positioned within the stands of the grounds, offering patrons the opportunity to purchase or get beer. Some stand tickets even include all-inclusive access to alcohol. In this context and during a break, president Ranil took to the podium and he stated how he liked that everyone was having beer and remarked on the 18% Value Added Tax (VAT) levied on beer, a comment that served as a tacit endorsement of alcohol use. 

This incident underscores the pervasive influence of the alcohol industry, which extends beyond mere economic transactions. By associating alcohol with social events and entertainment, influential figures contribute to the industry’s marketing efforts. Such endorsements serve to glamorise, normalise and perpetuate alcohol.

The president’s remark highlights the need for greater awareness of the subtle ways in which alcohol is promoted and endorsed in society. Moreover, it underscores the importance of responsible leadership and the need for public figures to refrain from endorsing behaviours that harm public health. This is especially vital in a society where over half of the population abstains from alcohol, and a staggering 97% of surveyed adults view alcohol consumption as problematic. Alarmingly, 79% perceive it as a significant issue, highlighting the urgent need for collective action to address alcohol-related harms.

Special thanks for providing and gathering information for this article: Asitha Dharshana Kompannage Fonseka


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