Perth soccer fans will be able to stay up into the night at WA pubs and bars for the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a new one-off liquor policy was announced for the occasion by the State Government.
Under the new extended trading hours policy, venues will be able to open at 3am to allow soccer fans to watch their favourite teams live when the FIFA World Cup kicks off between November 20 and December 18.
While some may decide to close after normal trading hours at midnight, bars that choose to operate through the morning will be able to if they meet certain criteria.
Fans looking to take public transport into the city will be able to arrive before the last train at 2am and then leave when the timetable resumes at 5am.
The sector has welcomed this and hoped it could be a trial run for other big international events which run into the night.
The liquor laws were announced by Gaming Minister Tony Buti on Friday at Yagan Square’s Shoe Bar.
Mr Buti said the extended trading will not only support hospitality businesses and the economy, but it will also give sports fans the opportunity to enjoy the spirit of the game with friends.
“More than 3.5 billion people tuned into the last FIFA World Cup in 2018 and this policy will give Western Australian venues and fans more opportunity to be part of this global event,” he said.
Of the 64 games in the World Cup, 54 of them kick off at 9pm WST, 11pm, 12am, or 3am — with games generally extending beyond usual pub hours.
Most are 11pm or 3am, including all of the finals games. The other 10 games start at 6pm.
Australia is in Group D and their games. Australia will play its first game against France at 3am WST on November 23, then Tunisia at 6pm on November 26, and Denmark at 11pm on November 30.
“It’s great that we’ve got this new policy of instead of trading permits to allow these venues to remain open late at night early in the morning if they’re broadcasting a World Cup game,” the Minister said.
Shoe Bar publican Paul Higgins said that it was exciting and that he felt that he would be able to cater for Perth diverse footy fans.
“The industry is a very, very happy to use that initiative. The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. And the interest in it is just massive,” Mr Higgins said.
Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods said that while there had been staffing issues in the sector, he was confident many Perth bars would be able to cater for crowds.
“Pubs across the state whether it’s a small country town or an inner-city hospitality hotel venue will be able to show live FIFA World Cup games without the hassle or harassment of going through an enormous bureaucratic process,” he said.
“The World Cup is an amazing event one that attracts viewers from around the globe. So, the ability to be able to open at 3am or 2am or 4am to really make our venues open and alive whilst the soccer being played is a fantastic opportunity.”
Mr Woods also said that he welcomed the liquor laws as an opportunity to show off Perth’s nightlife.
Plans around a police presence on during the event is yet to be decided but Mr Buti urged punters to celebrate respectfully.
Licensees who want to stream the cup live are encouraged to lodge applications as soon as possible by visiting the DLGSC website.