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Views & Reviews

World Cup’s extended pub opening hours make no sense

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3805
  1. Clifford Mann, president, College of Emergency Medicine, Taunton, UK
  1. cliff.mann{at}

The drinks industry sees longer opening hours for the World Cup as a victory for common sense—but this sets an unwelcome precedent, says Clifford Mann

Alcohol is rightly both praised and vilified. An accompaniment to food, an adjunct to celebration, and a subject of much expertise and ignorance, it is an accepted part of many cultures. Used responsibly, it seldom causes problems, but my concerns relate to government action that could encourage the opposite. The forthcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup and the related amendments to licensing regulations in England and Wales have brought these issues into focus.

On 24 November 2005 the licensing laws for England and Wales were relaxed. The arguments at that time for amending the legislation, which had been largely unchanged since the first world war, emphasised the benefits of the “cafe society” described in much of continental Europe. It is difficult to imagine a more egregious example of confusing cause …

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