4am World Cup TV in city bar opposed

A Dunedin bar's plans to screen Fifa World Cup matches later this year could be derailed by concerns the venue could attract early-morning drinkers ''like moths to the flame''.

Octagon bar owner Grant Ellis has applied for a special licence that would allow his premises - the ground-floor Ratbags or Innocent Bystanders above it - to remain open for matches kicking off at 4am and 7am.

The aim was to cater for up to 80 ''avid football fans'' per game throughout the tournament, which begins on June 13 and ends on July 14.

However, Mr Ellis' application has been opposed by Dunedin police and Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Keith Reid.

The application will be considered at a meeting of the Dunedin district licensing committee on Tuesday.

Dr Reid, opposing the application, said it would effectively allow 24-hour trading in the Octagon, increasing the availability of alcohol for up to 25 days during the tournament.

That included 11 ''high risk'' Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when the number of people in the Octagon - and the potential for alcohol-related harm - increased.

That raised questions about whether such a move was in keeping with the regulatory requirement to minimise alcohol-related harm, and whether watching football on television in a bar constituted an event, he said.

''This increase in availability of alcohol - particularly during the early morning hours - has the potential to fuel alcohol-related harm in a sensitive area at [a] time which is prone to such incidents.''

Dunedin City Council licensing inspector Tony Mole, in a report to Tuesday's meeting, said, if approved, the venue would be the only one allowed to sell alcohol after 4am ''when all the neighbouring bars are closed''.

''There are concerns over the premises being the only premises open after 4am and people who just seek to continue to drink being attracted like moths to the flame when they see [the venue] is open.''

The committee would also need to consider whether a special licence could be issued for a television event, he said.

Mr Ellis said Ratbags and Innocent Bystanders would be used to screen matches at various times throughout the tournament.

Whichever bar was used, it would be open to the public, but security and bar staff would remove those ''who are not obvious football fans'', he said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz


How to do football fandom

Wear scarves representing your team; twirl racheting clackers; barrack loudly en masse, following such examples as 'Liverpool! Liverpool..!, and 'Ozzi Ozzie Ozzie! Oi Oi Oi!'.

Not an event?

you cant tell me that this is the problem with Dunedin drinkers. Every Saturday night there are 'kids' out on George Street who couldnt tell you what street they are on they are so drunk! But this is OK for the DCC because it's people making jobs in the city. We are talking about having a bar open to go and watch a sporting event. I watched the world cup final in Rialto in 2002. There were Brazilians with drums chanting and shouting. I'm now of drinking age. If I wasnt going to Brazil to watch the finals and was to be in Dunedin to watch the final you're telling me I can't have a beer and watch it with my friends in a bar because it doesn't constitute an 'event' or falls outside of normal drinking hours?

Well, sit me down and explain how the most popular sport in the world holding a finals doesn't constitute an event! Here's a test: while the final's on at 7pm on a Sunday night can someone tell me if we have larger than expected numbers having a beer in the Octagon. Work on real problems Dr Keith Reid, let us enjoy the football.

Interesting precedent being set

If this is opposed due to "The committee considering a special licence cannot be issued for a television event" then this will be an interesting precendent, next time the beloved All Blacks play France, Argentina, England or Wales in their home land and bars wish to broadcast those games live what will be the excuse that allows bars to open for that television event? Consider carfully or is there a different rule just for rugby?


the bar would "remove those who were not obvious football fans"

How does one tell who of us are real football fans?

i wouldn't give them a license based on that phrase alone. 

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