European Parliament seeks to restrict unfair advertising practices but threatens to jeopardise revenue for grassroots sports, says East Midlands MEP

Today MEPs adopted a report on the impact advertising has on consumer behaviour. The Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee investigated the enforcement of existing rules concerning unfair business-to-consumer practices as well as looking to protect consumers from abuses of new online technologies.

Hidden or behavioural advertising has grown rapidly on the internet and is now used in forums, blogs and social networking sites. MEPs supported the view that new techniques, whereby advertisers pose as consumers on internet forums, should be tackled with clearly worded warnings marked “behavioural advertisement”.

However, the report also contained elements that threatened the alcohol industry with restrictions on where they are allowed to advertise on the internet, with potentially dangerous consequences for grassroots sports that rely on the income.

Miss McClarkin commented after the vote:

“Online alcohol advertising has great benefits for the EU economy, generating billions of Euros and thousands of jobs in the media and advertising sectors alone.

“This is just another example of the EU trying to dictate policy to Member States in an area which varies in importance across Europe.

“What is more, for grassroots sports – and, indeed, even professional sports – the revenue generated can be the difference between success or failure. We must ensure that our small clubs and associations are not allowed to go under and that is why I am pleased the internal market rejected calls to restrict this practice.”

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