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Pubs' World Cup red card

PUBLISHED: 16:14 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 25 August 2010

ANGRY publicans have slammed police safety regulations being brought in for screenings of England World Cup football matches.

ANGRY publicans have slammed police safety regulations being brought in for screenings of England World Cup football matches.

Bexley police and council bosses invited publicans to attend a meeting in Bexley civic centre last Wednesday where they issued a World Cup 'good practice' guide leaflet advising them on how to manage customers to prevent anti social behaviour and to control the dispersal of customers after games.

The World Cup starts on Friday June 11 and the first England game against the United States is the next day. The guide offers recommendations on management, volume levels and opening hours advising that pubs implement a one-hour closure after afternoon games. It also suggests that publicans carry out risk assessments.

Bill Meade, 60, manager of the Millers Arms pub in Bexley High Street said: "I don't know where they're coming from. They're trying to make too many changes. Publicans are fed up. They think we should close at 11pm. I don't agree with it at all. If we close during the day for an hour, people will just go across the road to another pub. If you don't have any problems, why should you have to close early?" Peter Sampson, 35, manager of The Railway Tavern, Bexley said: "It all seems pre-ordained without consulting licensees. It seems an awful lot of expenditure and the whole emphasis has been put on us. It was a little bit patronising."

Other rules include acquiring additional staff to work as designated floor workers to control drunkenness, anti social behaviour and underage sales, and using extra door staff.

Terry Fitzgerald, manager of The Wrong Un, Bexleyheath, said: "People were questioning the fact that pubs were being restricted but off-licences were not. Some publicans got a little argumentative."

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: "It's important to make clear that the advicelays out 'suggestions'.

"It remains the responsibility of the individual pub to decide which, if any, they will put in place." He added the objective was to raise awareness of the need to properly manage events and the suggested closure period is to reduce the risk of drunkenness.

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