Cameron steps in to keep beer flowing during soccer World Cup

LONDON Mon Feb 3, 2014 10:30am EST

LONDON Feb 3 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron intervened in a row between the pub industry and the government on Monday to try to make sure pubs can stay open late and show soccer matches involving England during the World Cup.

The time difference between Britain and Brazil, where the tournament is being held, means kick off for England's tournament opener against Italy on June 14 is 2200 GMT - a time when many pubs without special licences would be drawing down their shutters for the night.

Cameron has ordered ministers to re-think a decision to refuse permission for extended opening hours nationwide. The initial decision meant pubs would have had to apply individually for late licences.

"We want the pub trade, police and local authorities to work together to ensure people can enjoy World Cup matches responsibly and safely," said a spokesman for Cameron's office.

A consultation over the decision, involving local authorities and police, will be carried out by the Home Office (interior ministry), the spokesman said.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which made the initial application, welcomed the decision, saying that around 4 million Britons watched England's 2010 World Cup opener against the United States from pubs.

"I am 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," said BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds. (Reporting by William James; Editing by Steve Addison)

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