Close Menu

Close early during Rugby World Cup, pubs told

Pub landlords in Twickenham, home to England’s national rugby stadium, are up in arms at police urging them to close early after evening matches in the upcoming World Cup.

Beer sellers outside Twickenham Stadium (Photo: Flickr)

The 80,000-capacity stadium will host late-night matches for the first time in its history when the Rugby World Cup comes to England in September, meaning games could go on until 10pm.

But calls from local residents already angered by the behaviour of drunken fans during the normal season have prompted police to call on landlords to shut early. The plans have been called “Orwellian” by pub owners.

Metropolitan police took a trial run at the early closures after England’s 19-14 victory against France in a pre-World Cup warm-up game on Saturday.

Police requested that landlords in the area call last orders at 10pm, and an announcement was made in Twickenham stadium at the end of the game announcing that pubs would be closed.

This is despite the fact that landlords were not obliged to close early, with many of them choosing to stay open to their regular closing times.

Landlords were also angered by stadium organisers promoting their own bars, saying that they would stay open until 11pm.

Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Fuller’s Inns pub chain, told The Times that he is “very annoyed” with how police and the Rugby Football Union, England Rugby’s governing body, are acting.

“Pub operators never agreed to that or suggested that,” he said of the early-closing scheme. “We were planning to open our doors to everyone.”

“It seems quite Orwellian to say you will not go to the pub for a drink. It is not happening in Cardiff or other cities that are hosting World Cup matches. Why should it happen in Twickenham?”

Police said they were obliged to “try and ensure the impact on local residents and the community was kept to a minimum following the match,” and added that their plans for matches during the World Cup were still being formed.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No