Relax opening and alcohol rules for Lionesses’ final, say pub bosses

Pub bosses have called on the Government to loosen licensing rules for Sunday opening hours and alcohol sales for the Women’s World Cup final.

The Lionesses will play Spain at 11am on Sunday August 20 in their first World Cup final, after beating hosts Australia on Wednesday.

But industry bosses have warned that licensing rules could mean some venues will be unable to serve pints or open early for excited fans on the day.

Current regulations mean the sale of alcohol is widely prohibited before 10am on Sunday, but venues such as pubs also have specific hours they can stay open and serve alcohol depending on individual licences.

“Most” pubs are likely to be unable to serve alcohol until 11am, with some being restricted until midday, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

Individual pubs can apply for a temporary event notice to serve alcohol outside their licensed hours, but this takes a minimum of five working days and will, therefore, not be possible for pubs before the match.

However, licensing rules can be temporarily relaxed by the Home Office for occasions of “exceptional international, national or local significance”.

Chris Jowsey, chief executive officer of Admiral Taverns, which runs more than 1,600 pubs, 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.

“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.”

The BBPA also called on the Government to allow all pubs to provide full service from 10am, warning that starting alcohol sales at 11am could lead to large queues and disruption.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, 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 fans and communities can come together and cheer the Lionesses to victory at the best place to watch live sport, the pub.

MPs should get down to Westminster tomorrow and score a last-minute winner for our pubs and the Lionesses

Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrats

“Where there’s a will, there has to be a way.”

The Liberal Democrats urged the Government to recall Parliament in order to pass legislation to allow pubs to serve alcohol from 10am for the match.

“This is an open goal for the Government,” said Daisy Cooper, the party’s deputy leader.

“The Lionesses have made history by reaching the final, it’s only right that people across the country can come together and show their full support on Sunday.

“MPs should get down to Westminster tomorrow and score a last-minute winner for our pubs and the Lionesses.”

Alun Cairns MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, 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.”

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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