Pub bosses in Blackpool today welcomed a reprieve in showing England’s World Cup opener – after a sudden change of heart from the Government.
David Cameron decided to overrule the Lib Dem minister who had turned down a request to allow pubs to stay open late for the Three Lions’ first match of the campaign.
The time difference in Brazil, where football’s top competition will be staged in the summer, means England’s first game against Italy will start at 11pm here.
Jimmy Drinkwater, manager of the Burlington, on Lytham Road, South Shore, said the decision would benefit pubs as well as fans wanting to get behind the national team.
He said: “We are definitely looking at showing the games – it is part of a crucial summer for us and we have got to try and make the most of it.
“It makes more sense to do it this way than having every pub apply.
“It is only a one-off that England are playing at 11pm.
“As a country we are very patriotic and I don’t think we show it enough so I do think this is a great idea.”
After Lib Dem minister Norman Baker revealed he had rejected a request from brewers to extend licences for the occasion, landlords were preparing to stump up the cash for individual applications to open later.
But the Prime Minister was quick to step in and order a national consultation over the issue, paving the way for a decision that would stop licence-holders having to approach the council for a one-off extension.
Wayne Thomas, manager of Raike Hall, on Waterloo Road, South Shore, said: “We thought the Government had vetoed the idea so I was going to approach the company about getting an extension.
“We should be allowed to show the match and we will be staying open for it.
“The World Cup is obviously of great interest to customers.”
The proposal, put forward by the British Beer and Pub Association, would see pubs and bars able to stay open until 1am on the opening and closing weekends of the tournament.