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Three Red Lions on a Shirt – pubs celebrate World Cup boost

On 04/04/14 by Jim Cathcart (Policy Manager - Pub Operations)

The trade was celebrating this week, as the Government announced the results of the recent consultation into extending licensing hours for England’s World Cup matches.

The result was extending hours until 1am to let fans watch Hodgson’s men take on the Italians down their local on Saturday 14th June, kicking off at 11pm. The second group match pits England against World Cup legends Uruguay on Thursday 14th June (8pm) and pubs showing the match will be able to open until midnight. The Costa Rica match kicks off at 5pm and as such normal hours will apply on 24th June.

Once England make it to the second round (don’t stop believing) the extended hours will kick in again as these matches start at 9pm – meaning pubs could stay open until 1am. The two dates that England could potentially play are the 28th or 29th June depending on our final position in the group. It is worth noting that this will only apply if England actually play, so it is worth planning ahead with TENs for these - and of course all the other late kick off matches not involving Roy’s Boys.

Sadly the extension does not apply to Wales, with the reason given by the Home Office that it was not of enough significance to anyone wishing to watch the matches in a Welsh pub. This is despite the fact the majority of those responding to the consultation wanted it to apply to both countries - perhaps a Moyes-esque protest involving a Welsh plane and banner over Downing Street could see the Government change their mind on this.

The four hour extension is important to allow safe and managed dispersal from premises after the game to prevent an influx of customers into the street as soon as England are cruelly defeated on penalties. In terms of management of premises during the World Cup, the industry has a wealth of experience in dealing with major broadcast sporting events on a regular basis. Ahead of the 2014 World Cup the BBPA has published guidance for operators developed with the support of the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). The guidance is intended as a template for pubs, local authorities and police to work together to ensure that the World Cup is a successful and enjoyable occasion. It provides a handy checklist for licensees to run through in making sure all angles to running a successful event are considered and covered. The guidance is freely available to all operators, police forces and local authorities here.

Football is our national sport and England’s participation in the World Cup Finals is a cause for national celebration. The trade is rightly pleased the Government has recognised this, and it cements the status of the pub as the best place to enjoy this year’s World Cup. It’s almost like being in Brazil.


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