Pub bosses call for relaxation of alcohol rules for Women’s World Cup final

Fans will gather across the country ahead of the 11am kick-off on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images/PA)

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.

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

Fans are eager to raise an early-morning pint for a bit of Dutch courage – as they prepare to watch Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses take to the pitch.

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’.

Let them drink pints! (Picture: Guy Bell/Shutterstock)

The Lionesses take on Spain in the showdown (Picture: Getty Images)

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.

Venues across the country will be opening early (Picture: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

Could football be coming home? (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

‘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.

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

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.’

Calls have also been made for an official Bank Holiday if England prove successful on Sunday.

Figures including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, are among demanding the day off.

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