Ewen Macgregor, partner at UK law firm TLT, highlights the key points that clubs and stadiums operators need to be aware of in order to take advantage of the commercial opportunities presented by the upcoming World Cup.

The World Cup in Qatar later this year provides a unique opportunity for sports stadia to take advantage of alternative revenue sources with many football clubs faced with an “autumn break”, and the turn styles for supporters closing for the duration of the tournament.

It is important that clubs and stadium operators are ready to take advantage of this opportunity and  should review at the earliest opportunity what needs to be done

We have set out below a check list of what clubs should be considering to ensure they are licensing ready for the World Cup 2022:

Your current premises licence

The starting point is to check what your licence does permit, and equally what it does not permit.

  1. Licence conditions:

    Are there any conditions on your licence that restrict the sale of alcohol to match days only? If so you should look to have these removed – or at the very least suspended – for the duration of the World Cup.

  2. Opening hours and the hours for the sale of alcohol

    Whilst most game during the World Cup have afternoon and evening kick offs, some games start at 10am. Does your licence permit you to open, and start selling alcohol, in readiness for the kick offs in these matches? If not, again consider having these conditions varied either on a permanent basis to future proof your licence or have these hours changed on a temporary basis for the duration of the World Cup.

    If one of the home nations does get to the final there may be a blanket extension of licensing hours to take in to account the possibility of extra time and the dreaded penalties! There would be no harm in applying for a TEN now to cover the eventuality. If a blanket extension is granted and your do not need the benefit of this TEN then don’t forget to tell your licensing authority that you no longer require this so you do not give up a TEN unnecessarily.

  3. Points of sale of alcohol

Does your licence give your stadium the flexibility to set up temporary bars from where you can sell alcohol? If not a variation to your licence may be necessary. If you are able to set up temporary points of sale make sure that the location of these is properly risk assessed and that their location does not impede access/egress through escape routes.

Fan zones

You might want to consider setting up designated World Cup fanzone but take great care when considering using the World Cup trademark. Any unlawful use could bring unwanted World Cup attention!

It may be possible to licence this through obtaining a temporary event notice (TEN) but be mindful of the fact that the limit on the number of people attending an evet licensed by way of a TEN is 499.

There are also limits on the days and numbers of temporary events that you can have in any given year. Use your temporary event notices wisely and make sure that you make the application in sufficient time in case the police and/or environmental health officer raise concerns about this. If the TEN is not made in sufficient time then your application may be automatically refused and your event may not be able to go ahead.

Alternatively consider a permanent variation to your licence to enable your event, and future events to take place without the need to make repeat applications for TENs.

General management

It will be essential to carry out an early risk assessment when considering showing World Cup matches. In particular ensure proper levels of staffing, and where necessary door security, are provided, especially for games where there may be local rivalries.

In all cases, early engagement with your local licensing authority and licensing police officer is critical. This will be a busy time for the wider sector and the authorities will be grateful for early notification of your plans.

This article was first published by Football & Stadium Management News.

Date published

05 October 2022


View all