Perth football fans can stay up late in WA pubs and bars for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a new one-time drink policy was announced by the state government for the occasion.
Under the new extended hours policy, venues can open at 3 a.m. so football fans can watch their favorite teams live when the FIFA World Cup kicks off between November 20 and December 18.
While some decide to close at midnight after normal trading hours, bars that choose to operate through the morning can do so if they meet certain criteria.
Fans who want to get to the city by public transport can arrive at 2am before the last train and leave when the schedule resumes at 5am.
The industry applauds this and hoped it could be a test drive for other major international events that last well into the night.
The liquor laws were announced Friday by Gaming Minister Tony Buti at Yagan Square’s Shoe Bar.
Mr Buti said the expanded trade will not only support hospitality businesses and the economy, but it will also give sports fans a chance to enjoy the spirit of the game with friends.
“More than 3.5 billion people tuned in to the last FIFA World Cup in 2018 and this policy will give Western Australian venues and fans more opportunities to be a part of this global event,” he said.
Of the 64 matches in the World Cup, 54 will start at 9pm WST, 11pm, 12pm or 3am, with games generally taking place outside of normal pub hours.
Most are at 11pm or 3am, including all final matches. The remaining 10 games start at 6:00 PM.
Australia is in Group D and their matches. Australia will play its first game against France on November 23 at 3am WST, then against Tunisia on November 26 at 6pm and Denmark on November 30 at 11pm.
“It’s great that we have this new policy, instead of trading permits, to leave these venues open late at night when they’re broadcasting a World Cup match,” the minister said.
Shoe Bar tax collector Paul Higgins said it was exciting and that he felt he would be able to cater to Perth’s various footy fans.
“The industry is happy to take advantage of that initiative. The World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world. And the interest in it is just huge,” said Mr Higgins.
Bradley Woods, CEO of the Australian Hotels Association, said that while there were staffing issues in the sector, he was confident many bars in Perth would be able to cater to the crowd.
“Pubs across the state, be it a small town or a downtown hotel, will be able to show live FIFA World Cup matches without the hassle or intimidation of a huge bureaucratic process,” he said.
“The World Cup is a great event that attracts viewers from all over the world. So the ability to open at 3am or 2am or 4am to really make our venues open and lively while the football is being played is a fantastic opportunity. ”
Mr Woods also said he welcomed the liquor laws as an opportunity to show off Perth’s nightlife.
Plans for a police presence at the event have yet to be decided, but Mr Buti urged gamblers to respectfully celebrate.
Licensees wishing to live stream the cup are encouraged to apply through the DLGSC website as soon as possible.