IPL 2013: NGO files complaint against Royal Challengers Bangalore to I & B Ministry regarding advertising

Royal Challengers Bangalore sport different alcohol brand names on their jerseys © IANS

By Debolina Chakraborty

New Delhi: May 14, 2013

Indian Premier League‘s (IPL) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is directly advertising an alcohol brand, said a Delhi based NGO which has complained against the team in a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

“The jersey worn by umpires, players and other team members of RCB prominently displays the name of the liquor brand ‘Royal Challenge’ at the front and back of the jerseys. The jerseys also display the brand name of a vodka brand, on the right arm of the jerseys worn by players,” said Monika Arora, Senior Director, HRIDAY in a letter to Manish Tewari.

HRIDAY – SHAN (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth – Student Health Action Network) is a voluntary organisation engaged in advocacy related to non-communicable disease prevention through tobacco control, alcohol control, promotion of healthy diet and physical activity among youth.

Arora in her letter said, “These brand names are also being used blatantly for the team’s promotional activities and as backdrops at press conferences. This is done with a clear intention of promoting these alcohol brands, as other team players’ jerseys correctly display their team names be it the Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and other teams playing IPL 2013, and dont advertise any alcohol brand.”

According to the Cable Television Networks rules 1994- “No advertisement shall be permitted which promotes directly or indirectly production, sale or consumption of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants”

“Liquor companies often use surrogate advertising on music CDs, soda bottles and at promotional events to lure and retain their customers. We are writing to you to initiate immediate action against the RCB team owners to ensure that such promotions are stopped with immediate effect. To abide by rules, the jerseys should mention team name only not the alcohol brand name ‘Royal Challenge’,” said Arora.

In recent times, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had publicly refused a mega endorsement offer from a liquor brand, “demonstrating true spirit of the game and emphasizing his belief that cricket has the power to influence minds of people of India, especially the youth.”

“We urge the government to direct the RCB team to immediately withdraw its current set of jerseys that promote alcohol brands with a set of new sober jerseys. We also urge the government to issue strict guidelines to IPL governing council asking them to ensure that IPL is not used as a platform to advertise or promote, directly or indirectly, harmful and addictive substances like alcohol and tobacco that are detrimental to the health of millions of cricket fans in India” said Arora.

Meanwhile, Russell Adams, Vice President Commercial Operations and cricket Academy at RCB Bangalore declined to comment on the issue.