The Home Office had originally envisaged no blanket easing of licensing hours during this Summer’s World Cup since, in the opinion of the Home Office, it did not qualify as an event of ‘national importance’ similar in nature to the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
Criticism of this decision came thick and fast from organisations including the British Beer & Pub Association which had requested an extension of serving times to 1am over two separate weekends during the Brazilian tournament. England’s opening game against Italy takes place at 11pm on Saturday June 14th and the closing games take place on 11th and 12th July.
The Home Office responded by pointing out that licensed premises could take out a Temporary Event Notice Extension for these games.
“They’ve really missed something here and they should reconsider,” commented BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds who pointed out that a Temporary Licence would cost pubs some £738,000 in added expense should they decide to do so.
She also pointed out that some four million people watched the 2010 World Cup from the pub.
However the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a rethink and put out a message on his official twitter account stating, "I have ordered a rethink on pub opening times for England’s World Cup games – will consult with pub trade, police and councils."
The news was greeted with delight by Brigid Simmonds who stated, “This would make for the most fantastic news for thousands of publicans and millions of football fans.
“I’m delighted that the Prime Minister has intervened to back Britain’s pubs and make clear that England’s World Cup campaign is a time for celebration.
“This commonsense decision would remove a great deal of bureaucracy for pubs and local councils – and makes clear that the best place to enjoy the England team’s journey is in your local pub.
“We are absolutely thrilled that our efforts have made a real difference for football fans and pubs,” she concluded.