New EU plans to curb binge-drinking could result in alcohol companies being banned from sponsoring sport or advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed. The ban would form part of a strategy due to be unveiled this summer aimed at curtailing youth-drinking and the increasing problems associated with alcohol abuse. Other measures being considered include a ban on discounts for alcoholic drinks, cigarette-style health warnings on drinks, random breath-testing with lower limits, and new taxes on alcopops. Finland, which at the weekend began a six-month presidency of the EU, wants its own new drink laws to become the model for Europe by 2010. A report commissioned by Brussels is damning of the drinks industry, claiming that its marketing strategies have led to a rise in teenage boozing. Brewers are leading sponsors of football with Budweiser paying £28m to be one of the World Cup's official backers and Heineken stumping up a reported £20.8m to sponsor the Champions League. The industry is preparing to fight the plans. Jamie Fortescue, director-general of the European Spirits Organisation, insists there are no pan-European solutions to a problem which differs from one country to another. The Sunday Times 02/07/06 page 4