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Examining alcohol management practices in community sports clubs: a systems approach

Holly M. Thompson (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Josephine Previte (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Sarah Kelly (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Adrian.B. Kelly (Centre for Youth Substance Abuse, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of macro-level regulatory systems on alcohol management for community sport organisations (CSOs). It examines how alcohol regulations translate into meso-level management actions and interactions that impact alcohol consumption in community sport clubs.


Management of alcohol was explored through the holistic lens of macro, meso, and micro-levels of influence. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with Australian club administrators from community sports clubs.


Thematic analysis revealed macro-level influences on alcohol management in CSOs, with government regulations and the state sport associations being the most influential. Challenges arise in alcohol policy implementation when sport administrators do not prioritise alcohol consumption as a problem to be addressed, or where a conflict of interest arises between alcohol revenue generation and clubs positioning as health promoting environments.

Practical implications

Targeting club administrators’ attitudes towards alcohol as a benign influence and revising alcohol management practices are recommended as priority strategies to enhance the implementation and promotion of responsible alcohol management in sport clubs. Affiliate state sport associations were also identified as influential settings to provide administrative or strategic direction to CSOs, which would reduce the resources required by volunteers and standardise alcohol management practices across sports clubs.


The prevailing alcohol research focuses on the consumption behaviour of individual members and sports players. The study findings are novel and important as they explore the macro-level influences that administrators experience when enacting and policing alcohol management strategies in sports clubs. To-date, administrators of CSOs have not been included in many studies about alcohol consumption regulation; therefore, the findings provide an original perspective on alcohol regulation and demonstrate how CSOs operationalise alcohol management in club settings. The original insights from this study informed the conceptualisation of a multilevel sport system framework, which can be applied to guide future governance of alcohol consumption in sport settings.



Thompson, H.M., Previte, J., Kelly, S. and Kelly, A.B. (2017), "Examining alcohol management practices in community sports clubs: a systems approach", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 250-267.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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