Gov tells councils to ‘get pubs open’ for World Cup final

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Game on: UKHospitality says the World Cup final could deliver a potential £41m in sales (credit: Getty/Justin Lambert)
Game on: UKHospitality says the World Cup final could deliver a potential £41m in sales (credit: Getty/Justin Lambert)

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The Government is encouraging councils in England to “get pubs open earlier” on Sunday ahead of the Lionesses historic final in the Women’s World Cup.

The encounter is due to kick off at 11am but some on-trade premises won’t be open early enough to let football fans in and start serving alcohol for the big match against Spain, which is taking place in Sydney, Australia.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up has written to leaders of all councils in England asking them to continue doing everything they can to help every pub that wants to host this historic occasion and support the Lionesses.

The move comes after many in the sector urged the Government to allow the licensing change at short notice​.

Additional permission

The Department for Levelling Up said while many venues will be able to show the game within their usual opening hours, there may be a few who require additional permission where they would like to be able to serve alcohol as well.

In cases where an application is being rapidly considered to allow a short extension to licensing hours, the Government is encouraging local authorities to continue to do everything they can to complete the process in time, working closely with local police forces.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “The whole nation is ready to get behind the Lionesses this Sunday in what is England’s biggest game since 1966.

“I’ve asked councils to do everything they can to help pubs get open earlier on Sunday, so people can come together and enjoy a drink before kick-off for this special occasion.”

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls added: “The nation will be cheering on the Lionesses on Sunday and the next best thing to being in Australia is enjoying the match in the pub or hospitality venue.”

Exceptional demand

Nicholls continued: “Many are taking advantage of the fact that they can open to encourage people to come out for breakfast or brunch to get ready for this historic match.

“Demand from fans has been exceptional, with bookings filling rapidly, and there’s no doubt the day will be a huge boost for the sector, potentially delivering an additional £41million in sales.

It’s been really positive to work with the Government to ensure everyone can get a chance to join in the celebrations. I’d echo the Government’s support for local authorities taking a pragmatic view to venues opening early to allow people to make the most of this momentous occasion.”

The Home Office has also written to police chiefs to encourage forces to work together with local councils to ensure as many venues as possible can participate.

The Government added the move is part of its commitment to backing British pubs and follows this week’s announcement of an extension to licensing rules that enabling pubs to continue selling takeaway alcohol​ without red tape holding them back.

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