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England Women’s World Cup Final: No Preston or South Ribble pubs apply for early booze licence

Posted on - 18th August, 2023 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, Pubs, South Ribble News, Sport
Paul Butcher of the Stanley Arms in Lancaster Road, Preston city centre Pic: BBC LDRS

None of Central Lancashire’s pubs and bars have sought permission to start serving alcohol early to mark England’s appearance in the Women’s World Cup Final this weekend.

Preston, South Ribble and Chorley councils told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that they had received no applications from licensed premises in their areas to vary the rules that govern when they can begin trading.

The terms of each businesses’ licence differ – meaning that some will be able to serve drink earlier than others, depending on the conditions that have been imposed by their local authority.

Read more: Preston schoolgirl invited to attend England youth team training camp

The British Beer and Pub Association has called on the government for all pubs to be allowed to start quenching customers’ thirsts from 10am for one Sunday only, with the Lionesses set to take on Spain in the final in an 11am kick-off.

The organisation says that “most” hostelries will be able to begin serving alcohol only as the whistle blows to start the game, with some not being able to do so until midday – after the first half is over.

One of those is the Stanley Arms in Preston city centre, which will be opening its doors early for breakfasts and coffees from 10am to show support for the team and welcome anyone who wants to watch the game in a pub atmosphere.

However, landlord Paul Butcher told the LDRS that he had not considered applying for a temporary event licence. That is something which venues can do to amend their licensing hours, but which, for the World Cup Final, they would have to have arranged by late last week – before England had even made it through the quarter finals.

Read more: First ever Preston Pub Festival coming to the city

While a big supporter of women’s football, Paul says that the contrast with how venues like his would have prepared for a men’s final is inescapable.

“I think we’d have probably been on our game weeks ago – and if you ask yourself honestly, if it was the men’s team in a World Cup Final, everyone would have been running back to Parliament during the recess [to change the law nationwide].

“Fans of football will watch men’s or women’s football – but I don’t think [the women’s game] has quite the same national obsession at this point in time.

“Also, it tends to be that if you’ve got [a sporting event] on free-to-air television, we find that we’re not that busy for it anyway – and that has been the case with the Women’s World Cup so far,” Paul explained.

But he says he will still be right behind the Lionesses come Sunday morning.

“They’re doing something that in my lifetime I’ve never seen from an England football team. Massive strides have been made in the women’s game and we see games being played in large stadiums and drawing a crowd, with some of the women becoming household names now – which is great.”

Preston City Council said that local authorities do not have the power to authorise premises to open earlier than permitted by their licence, once the deadline for a temporary event application has passed.

Read more: Where kids eat cheap or free in Preston during the summer holidays

Meanwhile, South Ribble Borough Council leader Paul Foster said: “We’d recommend you check in with your local to see if they are showing the game.

“From a licensing point of view, we have received no applications for extensions for early hours, but a large number of premises will have alcohol sales before 11am permitted already through their licences.

“Each [venue] has different timings, dependant on what was applied for and what was granted.

“We’re really looking forward to the final on Sunday and we’re all behind the Lionesses. We hope that everyone has a great day if they are watching – and let’s hope it’s coming home.

“Best of luck to the Lionesses – come on England!”

Peter Wilson, deputy leader of neighbouring Chorley Council, said that the borough was in an identical position to South Ribble, adding: “It’s set to be a great day on Sunday when the Lionesses take on Spain in the World Cup final. We hope that, wherever you are watching, you have a brilliant time – and best of luck to the Lionesses.”

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