Britain to relax alcohol licensing for England matches in World Cup

London, April 1: Britain has decided to relax alcohol licensing hours nationally to mark England’s participation in the FIFA World Cup in June and July 2014, British Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May announced Monday.

According to the British Home Office, the adjustment also aims to bring benefits to businesses from an increase in the sale of alcohol and other refreshments during the World Cup.

“The government believes that England playing in a World Cup is an event of exceptional national significance and given the time difference with host nation Brazil, a number of games kick off late in the evening,” Xinhua quoted the Home Office as saying in an official response to the decision.

The relaxation of licensing hours will relate to the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises and the provision of late-night refreshment in licensed premises in England, at specified dates and times only, the office said.

While many pubs and other licensed premises may wish to extend their licensing hours in order to sell alcohol, many people will also wish to enjoy watching the matches in pubs and bars and experience the atmosphere of the occasion with fellow football fans, the office explained.

The relaxation will apply in England during England matches in the World Cup with a scheduled kick off time of 8 p.m. or later. It will be for the sale of alcohol and late night refreshment for consumption on the premises.

The relaxation will last four hours, to a latest time of 1 a.m. The length of time covers any extra time and penalties, and will also mean that customers are likely to leave premises gradually after the match, minimizing any nuisance to the public, according to the Home Office.