A bid for additional opening hours at pubs during the 2014 FIFA world cup has recently been rejected. This rejection has brought many issues to light, as people use the criticism that this is a ‘free country’ and pubs should be allowed to stay open, it raises serious questions surrounding the hooliganism associated with the sport. Instead, we should not have to bow down to this often aggressive culture.
The opposing argument suggests that the pub is merely a place for the community spirit of the watchers and that the ‘buzz’ of watching the match in this environment is what adds to the game. However, at what point does this require a necessity of a pub as opposed to someones home? It has been argued that for those who have missed out or cannot afford tickets to watch the match should be allowed this as a way of making up for it. But one has to ask why we feel we owe something to the sport and these people. Whilst it has to be contested that quite clearly not everyone that watches or plays the game will be involved in the anti-social behaviour often following these games, but we still cannot ignore that these problems have occurred. Why should we run the risk of wasted police time and general disruption so that more drinking can be done with a game, which is quite clearly an issue regardless. Once again, not every fan will drink and there are some that will have no other option than to watch it in their local pub, yet even in this instance, is the recording of a football match such a terrible idea to risk the violence that often stems from this?
Additionally, some have argued following this that the government is taking a far too parental role in our own lives. Whilst it may seem patronising for this involvement the reasons are clear. Pubs have a closing time in the hope of preventing anti-social behaviour and keeping the peace, why should laws be changed to meet the needs of a few? Furthermore, the government has a role for crime prevention and once again, the violent behaviour would render this a risky move. The queens jubilee was an all together different event that allowed pubs to stay open later. However, the justification for this was that it was a ‘one off’ event highlighting the further issues with opening later for a World Cup. When will it eventually stop? Matches will always feel important to the fans, meaning that they will gradually want more and more games to be shown later. As well as that, the jubilee is a different event in that, even for those who are not royalists, the feeling of a need to fight is very minimal. Although, the same issues may be that people are still drinking more which could always lead to violence regardless of the event, the chances are far lower. The game itself is physically passive in comparison to rugby, meaning that when one leaves the pitch the passive aggression builds quite easily for some into physical aggression. The jubilee was instead a demonstration of national pride. It has to be stated again that not every fan should be stereotyped as being part of hooliganism, yet we cannot ignore that it is a prominent issue. Therefore, perhaps we should aim to distant the sport from alcohol and instead make it more about the game itself.