Are you ready for the World Cup?

09 May 2014
Are you ready for the World Cup?

Bar and pub operators might be prepared for the long hours, the crowds and the beer but, asks Matthew Phipps, is your licencing up to scratch?

As the echo of the last South African vuvuzela dies away to be replaced with the samba of Brazil, it's time to begin
planning. Operators should remember that with a four-hour time difference, some matches will start as late as 11pm.

As well as checking your premises licences to ensure you can open late enough,you may also want to consider your plans and fire risk assessments to ensure that you remain fully compliant.

Temporary Event Notices (TENs)

If you don't have a licence that allows you to trade until the early hours, the simplest thing to do is apply for a TEN. There is a limit to the number you can have, and if you go past midnight the TEN counts for two days. The limits are:

twelve TENs per premises per year;
a maximum of seven days per TEN;
a maximum of 21 days a year;
a 24-hour gap between TENs.

A TEN may be a better option than a permanent variation, unless you can make later hours work for you outside of the World Cup.

Non-payment means your entire licence will be suspended. A TEN does not oblige you to pay the LNL, even if you go into the levy period.

People will be in your premises for extended periods, drinking more than usual, and you will be a lot busier. Remind yourself of the conditions on your licence, such as whether plastic glasses are necessary, and also ensure that your fire risk assessment capacity limit is not breached.

For particularly busy matches, a separate risk assessment will help you be prepared for England's 4-0 revenge rubbing
of Germany in the semi-final!

Turning your premises into a beach bar sounds glamorous, but remember your premises licence has a plan attached to it
and that any changes you make, even temporary ones, must comply with the plan regulations. This goes for outside bars and other changes that may require either your plans to be varied or a TEN to be applied for.

Gone are the days when a football crowd could expect to turn up and be treated to free drinks linked to goals scored - for example, getting a fourth pint free - as that now constitutes an irresponsible drinks promotion. Your mandatory conditions include a section devoted to this, so make sure you do not offer something you come to regret.

To make the most of the opportunities the World Cup brings, remember:

Check your licence covers the hours of the matches you want to show.
Check your conditions and your ability to comply.
Seeking to vary your premises licence for permanent additional hours could, in certain places, leave you liable to pay the LNL. It's worth checking if your authority has one that would affect you.
•For particularly busy matches, build into your planning the fact that people will be within your premises for longer and may drink more than usual.
• If in doubt about a drinks promotion, ask council licensing officers - but then listen if they say no.

Don't put the ball through your own net by not having the necessary licenced hours, fall foul of your premises' licence conditions or miss an open goal by not being sufficiently prepared.

CONTACT Matthew Phipps is a partner at law firm TLT

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