PUB landlords across Oxfordshire are celebrating over a Government U-turn letting them open later for England’s World Cup matches this summer.
Following a re-think by the Home Office, pubs will be allowed to apply for late licences to stay open until 1am when England matches start at 8pm or later.
The U-turn follows a two-week consultation period after the Home Office decided at first not to extend the opening hours.
It covers England’s opening match against Italy that kicks off at 11pm on Saturday, June 14, and the game against Uruguay on Thursday, June 19 that starts at 8pm. The late licences will cost £21 each time.
At the Boundary House in Oxford Road, Abingdon, staff are preparing to apply for a licence for the game against Uruguay.
The Greene King pub has a licence to stay open until 1am on Saturdays, but closes at 11pm on Thursdays.
Assistant manager Jodie Pepperell, 21, said: “We have five screens inside and in the summer we can put a screen out for the smoking shelter.
“The World Cup will boost trade and everyone is looking forward to it. Our kitchen will stay open late to serve food.”
At the City Arms in Cowley Road, Oxford, assistant manager Matt Wilson, 26, said the pub had a licence to stay open until midnight on Saturdays and Thursdays and would apply for the licence to stay open until 1am on both nights.
He added: “We have got eight screens including a projector for a 6ft by 8ft HD screen and the World Cup will be a big money-spinner for us.
“If we get a really good week it could push our weekly takings up by thousands of pounds.
“Students as well as locals come here so there will be interest in other international teams as well as England.”
Laura Price, 21, assistant manager of the Wig and Pen in George Street, Oxford, said: “We can stay open until 3am Monday to Saturday so we won’t need to apply for an extension, but we will definitely be showing the England games. England games are good for business and we have standard 40-inch screens and a projector screen in our function room.”
The George pub in Sandford Road, Littlemore, is also preparing to welcome football fans.
Landlord Nigel Woodley said the pub had a licence until 1am so it would not need to apply for the extension.
He added: “We have football shirts and lots of football memorabilia including Oxford United.
“I think the Government was right to have a re-think because it will be good for the pub trade.”
Kirsten Allmond, 21, who works in the pub, added: “We are looking forward to the pub being busy during the World Cup.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The Government has consulted on whether to relax licensing hours nationally for England matches with late kick-off times during the FIFA World Cup in June and July 2014.
“Following this, the Government has decided to relax licensing hours nationally to mark England’s participation in the tournament.
“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.”
ENGLAND’S opponents in Group D in Brazil are Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
The opening game against Italy is on Saturday, June 14, at 11pm.
The match against Uruguay is on Thursday, June 19, at 8pm.
The game against Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 24, is at 5pm.
If England come first in Group D they play the runners-up in Group C on Sunday, June 29 at 9pm.
If England come second in Group D they will play the winners of Group C on Saturday, June 28 at 9pm.