A COALITION of health bodies has criticised Commonwealth Games organisers for choosing two alcohol firms as sponsors.

The British Medical Association (BMA) and Alcohol Focus Scotland are among seven organisations to question the decision to allow Heineken and The Famous Grouse to become official sponsors.

Around 300 Glaswegians die every year from alcohol-related causes, while it is estimated that there are nearly 13,500 "problem" drinkers in the city.

Across Scotland, some 1080 people died from alcohol-related causes in 2012, and there were nearly 36,000 hospital admissions.

A health impact assessment for the Games noted that the event, which starts in just over a month, could be used to "prevent alcohol-related problems".

It added: "In a move towards current thinking at an EU level, the Scottish Government has recently published alcohol sponsorship guidelines. Distillers, brewers, and alcohol retailers in Scotland have agreed to ensure that alcohol brands are not used to sponsor teams, brands, celebrities or events with particular appeal to under 18s, nor sponsor individuals under 18."

However, Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg recently unveiled two drinks firms as "official beer and cider providers".

Heineken brands include its self-named beer and Amstel, while The Famous Grouse is a household name due to its whisky.

The special deal will see both company's products sold at competition venues, with a limited edition Commonwealth Games 2014 ale also being produced.

The companies will have no "field of play" branding, but they will be able to use the official Glasgow 2014 mark in their outdoor and external advertising.

Senior representatives from BMA Scotland, Alcohol Focus Scotland, the BMA Board of Science, Children in Scotland, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs and the Stroke Association have expressed their disappointment.

In a letter to Grevemberg, they write: "We would be grateful if you could clarify the extent to which Heineken and The Famous Grouse branding and messaging will be prominent throughout Games venues, across Glasgow, on TV and online?

"The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow this summer. We believe that allowing global alcohol producers free reign to advertise their products to children and young people is not in-keeping with the spirit of the Commonwealth Games."

Alison Johnstone MSP, the Scottish Greens' Commonwealth Games spokesperson and a former athlete, said: "I would have serious concerns if these brands enjoyed prominent publicity during the Games.

"Part of the buzz around the Games is the chance to leave a legacy, and make active and healthy lifestyles the norm. That could be undermined by promoting alcoholic drinks."

A Glasgow 2014 spokesperson said: "We do not enter into sponsorship agreements lightly and take into account a number of factors when appointing a new sponsor.

"One of those factors is what fit the new sponsor has with our own values and ambitions for the Games.

"It is our aim to ensure that catering covers consumer demand from the wide range of people attending the Commonwealth Games, from athletes to spectators and workforce, and that a broad range of menu choices, including non-alcoholic and healthy options, are on offer."