By Joe Pennington and Ben Park
Sunderland pub owners are happy with the Prime Minister’s rethink call on extending pub opening hours for England’s World Cup against Italy in June.
PM David Cameron overruled a Home Office refusal on allowing pubs to remain open long enough facilitate coverage of the games, which kick off at 11pm on Saturday, June 14.
Andrew Wayman, manager of The Chesters pub on Chester Road said: “It’s the sensible thing to do. We were going to apply for an extension anyway so it’s the right decision.
“It’s good that we will be able to stay open and watch the game in The Chesters.”
Owner of three city’s pubs and PR of JD Wetherspoon Eddie Gershon said: “The decision is definitely the right one in our opinion.
“The safest place for the public to have a drink and watch the football is in a pub, so we believe for this one-off occasion it’s the right thing to do.”
However, any pubs that want to stay open for the extended time must apply to Sunderland City Council for approval.
A statement from the council said: “In the current absence of any legislation which extends licensing hours in relation to the World Cup, as was the case with the Royal Wedding and Jubilee, the operators of licensed premises are entitled to seek extensions to their licensing hours on an individual basis.
“Each application would then need to be considered separately by the City Council.
“In doing so, the council would be guided by the four objectives of the 2003 Licensing Act; preventing crime and disorder, promoting public safety, preventing public nuisance, and protecting children from harm.”
The Home Office had refused a request from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) for an extension of licensing times across the country, which Mr Cameron has ruled out.
In a message on Twitter, he said: “I have ordered a rethink on pub opening times for England’s World Cup games – will consult with pub trade, police and councils.”
It is expected England fans will head to the pubs to watch the game, and cheer on the Three Lions as they look for their first success at a major tournament since 1966.#####