Rugby World Cup

Closing pubs early for Rugby World Cup matches described as 'Orwellian'

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Closing pubs early for Rugby World Cup matches described as 'Orwellian'

Related tags: Rugby world cup

Rugby fans may not be allowed into pubs near Twickenham Stadium after 10pm during next month’s World Cup.

Richmond Council said the introduction of the restriction is on a “voluntary basis”, driven by licensees, the Council and police, but pubco Fuller’s said it “never agreed” to the arrangements.

Pubs are being told to stay open until normal closing times, but not to allow customers entry after 10pm, meaning fans attending late kick-offs will have to travel outside of Richmond for a drink.

During England’s warm-up match at France on Saturday, fans were told pubs were set to close at 10pm - as a trial for the World Cup.

Jonathon Swaine, managing director at Fuller’s Inns, said: “Pub operators never agreed to that or suggested that. We were planning to open our doors to everyone.

"It seems quite Orwellian to say you will not go to the pub for a drink. We have spent time and money preparing all our pubs. It is not happening in Cardiff or other cities that are hosting World Cup matches. Why should it happen in Twickenham?”

Richmond Council said matches created pressure on the transport system, and the plan aims to minimise disruption.

A spokesman told the PMA: “A consultation has been carried out with licensed premises (sponsored by Pub Watch) to identify several key methods of assisting the expected crowds to utilise the licensed premises both pre and post-match.

“In some venues, this may involve a ‘prebooked table’ system. Following the consultation, Pub Watch agreed the proposal on a voluntary basis for premises in the Twickenham and Richmond area.”

Related topics: Licensing law, Sport, Events & Occasions

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