FOOTBALL fans are being warned against drinking and driving and domestic abuse as the World Cup kicks off later this week.
Twin campaigns will be launched today (Monday, June 9) urging England supporters to leave their car keys behind when going out to watch the match and keep calm when they get home afterwards.
Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are backing Road Safety GB North East’s Fatal Attraction drink driving campaign, after new figures revealed 49 people died and more than 2,000 were injured in drink drive accidents in the North-East during the last five years.
Campaign spokesman Paul Watson said: “This World Cup is different in that all the games will be shown here at night, so people need to think about how much they are drinking and what their plans are the next morning.”
Magpies defender Mike Williamson added: “Enjoy the football but remember nothing is more important than a human life.”
Black Cats captain John O’Shea said: “There is no excuse for drinking and driving.”
Boro assistant coach Craig Hignett added: “Everyone is looking forward to the tournament and I’m sure the atmosphere will be terrific. Just don’t get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been drinking.”
Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter, from Stockton, said: “Drinking and driving isn’t a winning formula.
“Memories of the World Cup should be all about the magic football and results – they should not be marred with regrets about a decision to drive home from the pub.”
Campaign leaders will be in Millennium Place, Durham, today, giving people the chance to try a driving simulator while wearing specially designed “beer goggles”.
Meanwhile, Northumbria Police will today launch a Kick Off campaign against domestic abuse.
The force will have officers ready to respond to such incidents during England games and campaign posters are going up across the area.
Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “An event like this which brings the world together should not be remembered by some for all the wrong reasons.”
More information on the campaigns can be found at roadsafetygb.org.uk and northumbria.police.uk