FOOTBALL fans could be in line for a World Cup boost after Burton’s MP called for an extension to pub licensing hours during the tournament.
Andrew Griffiths (pictured), who brought up the matter in the weekly House of Commons business statement, made the call for changes during the World Cup in Brazil next summer so fans can enjoy a pint with the games.
England beat Poland 2-0 to book their place at the World Cup earlier this month.
However, fans face the prospect of late nights with the four-hour time difference meaning that some games will be showing as late as 11pm in the UK, around the same time a lot of pubs kick-out under normal licensing.
Mr Griffiths said: “Burton is the home not only of British beer, but of the England football team at St George’s park.
“Football fans across England are looking forward to cheering on Roy’s boys in Brazil next year.
“There is no better way to do that than enjoying a pint in your local pub – yet because of Britain’s licensing laws and because of the time delay, many people will be unable to watch the football and enjoy a pint at the same time.
“Could we have a debate on UK licensing laws and exemptions to give some cheer to football fans and some money in the pockets of Britain’s publicans?”
Commons leader Andrew Lansley replied: “You raise an important point and fortunately in good time for this to be considered before the World Cup.
“I will raise that with the Home Office because there have, I know, been occasions when it has been thought appropriate to have some exceptions to licensing arrangements at the point at which some of these sporting occasions are taking place.”
The British Beer and Pub Association has already written to the Home Office to ask for licensing hours to be extended during the opening and closing weekends of the World Cup – June 13-14 and July 11-12.MP
Currently, it is down to the discretion of local authorities to grant extensions to opening hours.
However, under the Licensing Act, the Government can extend hours on a national basis for up to four consecutive days.