World Cup pubs late licence bid rejected

image copyrightAFP
image captionFans groups say watching the football in the pub is the next best thing to being at a live match

There will be no national extension of pub licensing hours during England's opening World Cup match, the Home Office has confirmed.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) had asked for serving times to be extended on two weekends during the tournament in Brazil this summer.

But the Home Office rejected the bid, saying the World Cup was not a "one-off" event like the Queen's Jubilee.

England play Italy at 23:00 BST on Saturday 14 June 2014.

Industry body the BBPA had put in an application on behalf of all pubs to allow them to to stay open from 23:00 to 01:00 on that Friday and Saturday - the opening weekend of the tournament.

It also asked for an extra two hours on the closing weekend, 11 and 12 July.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds told BBC Radio 5 live: "The Home Office wrote back to us and said 'we don't consider this of national importance'.

"They've really missed something here and they should reconsider."

She said a temporary licence would cost pubs a total of £738,000 if they all applied for individual licences.

image copyrightAP
image captionThe BBPA says 4m people watched the 2010 World Cup in the pub
image copyrightReuters

Individual pubs can apply for a one-off late licence at a cost of £21 or in "exceptional circumstances" ministers can extend hours nationally.

Fans group the Football Supporters' Federation said it was a "great shame" for those priced out of travelling to Brazil.

"For many fans the next best thing to a live game is the communal vibe of the pub," the federation's Graham Brunskill told the Daily Star Sunday.

Ministers extended weekend licensing hours for the recent royal wedding and Queen's Jubilee.

But Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said the government had "no plans" to repeat the move.

"It is our normal practice to only extend licensing hours under the Licensing Act 2003 in exceptional circumstances, usually for one-off events such as the Golden Jubilee rather than prolonged periods," he said.

"Premises which wish to open longer during this time can do so by applying for a Temporary Event Notice extension.

"This gives local authorities and police an opportunity to feed into the decision making process, allowing them to allocate resources if necessary."

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