Gov urged to allow early Sunday opening for World Cup final

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Big match: the Women's World Cup final is taking place in Sydney, Australia (credit: Getty/gradyreese)
Big match: the Women's World Cup final is taking place in Sydney, Australia (credit: Getty/gradyreese)

Related tags Sport Legislation Social responsibility Technology Bbpa Admiral taverns Punch pubs Poppleston allen

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is among many in the industry to call on the Government to allow pubs to serve beer from 10am this Sunday so both pubs and customers can benefit from England reaching the Women’s World Cup final.

England are set to face Spain​ in the showdown finale on Sunday 20 August, which takes place in Australia with a kick-off time of 11am (BST).

BBPA said pubs have the ability to open their doors early but, under current regulations, most are only likely to be able to sell alcoholic beverages from 11am on Sundays and have called on the Government to allow all pubs to provide full service from 10am.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Millions of people have been cheering on our amazing Lionesses throughout this tournament at their local pub, enjoying the unrivalled pub atmosphere and communal celebrations.

“Now, as England enter their first World Cup Final since 1966, we need the Government to step in and allow the necessary regulatory easement to allow pubs to serve the public from 10am on final day, so fan and communities can come together and cheer the Lionesses to victory at the best place to watch live sport, the pub. Where there’s a will, there has to be a way.”

Other notable voices to join the campaign include Admiral Taverns CEO Chris Jowsey said: “We urge the Prime Minister to allow pubs to open at 10am on Sunday to support our Lionesses and bring communities together to cheer on the team.”

Inspiring to watch

Jowsey continued: “It has been inspiring to watch not only their outstanding achievements on the pitch but the way it has brought the nation together off the pitch. A huge good luck for Sunday.”

Clive Chesser, Punch Pubs & Co chief executive, added: “The entire nation will be rooting for the Lionesses on Sunday and what better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than by watching the game with family and friends of all ages at your local.

“It is sure to be a time for community and celebration, and the great British pub is always right at the heart of both.”

All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chair Alun Cairns MP said: “Early opening and serving would be a fitting tribute to the Lionesses and a welcome boost to the industry.

“I have raised the issue with the Home Secretary directly who is looking in to see what is possible. We need to do all we can to support the team while, at the same time, backing our great British pubs.”

Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny commended the progress the Lionesses had made in the tournament and said: “There will be no better place to experience such a historic event than by coming together with your friends and neighbours in the pub.

“I know those Fuller’s pubs showing the matches will be going all out to make it the best place in the northern hemisphere to see the game – and with a great range of breakfasts and brunches on offer, it’s the perfect start to a Sunday.

“I think the Lionesses are well placed to finally bring it home after all these years. It’s going to be great and, as you can see from our pubs’ social media posts, our teams are as pumped and ready as the England squad.”

Too late for a TEN

Many pubs are restricted to only open at midday on Sundays and, legally, without using Governmental powers, it will be unlikely such sites could do anything to change their opening times to screen the match.

Licensing solicitor Poppleston Allen gave The Morning Advertiser​ some advice for pubs.

Poppleston Allen senior associate Andy Grimsey said: “Some pubs will already have permission to sell alcohol in the morning but many will not, and in those cases it is far too late to issue a temporary event notice (TEN) or to vary the premises licence.

“Some pubs have non-standard hours that might apply for major sporting events, but the only conceivable way to allow all pubs to sell alcohol outside their normal hours would be an urgent ‘Licensing Hours Order,’ which the Secretary of State can issue on occasions of exceptional significance (like the Queen’s Birthday, Royal Wedding etc).

“This is one of those moments, but whether the minister has time will depend upon political will and the dexterity of parliamentary draftsmen.”

Grimsey added if a premises does not have permission to sell alcohol early in the morning, they are still permitted to open their doors to customers to serve breakfast and coffee as long as no licensable activities are taking place.

He concluded: “Once the sale of alcohol starting time is reached, the premises will then be permitted to sell alcohol to customers and, hopefully, celebrate with a World Cup-winning glass of bubbly.”

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