Pubs can extend opening hours if England or Scotland reach Euro 2024 semi-finals

Pubs will be able to extend their opening hours to 1am if England or Scotland make it to the semi-finals of Euro 2024, the Government has said.

Venues will be allowed to stay open for an extra two hours on match days if either or both teams reach the last four – or the final – to give fans a chance to celebrate or commiserate.

The move, which covers venues in England and Wales, comes after a consultation at the end of last year and is hoped to provide a boost to the hospitality industry.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “We have listened to the public through our consultation and will be extending pub licensing hours should England or Scotland reach the semi-finals or final of Euro 2024.”

He added that the move will “allow friends, families and communities to come together for longer to watch their nation hopefully bring it home”.

The semi-finals are currently scheduled to take place on Tuesday July 9 and Wednesday July 10, with the final taking place on Sunday July 14.

The head of trade body UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said the extended hours were “essential to allow venues and fans to take full advantage”.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “With the Euros fast approaching, for many people there can be no better place to cheer on their team than with a refreshing beer at their local pub.

“It’s great news that the Government has anticipated the likely interest from pubs to keep their doors open a little longer for the semi-finals and finals during the European Championships.”

England fell short of European glory in the final of the Covid-delayed Euro 2020 after losing to Italy in the final.

If the team manages to go one better this summer, it will be the first major trophy won by the country since the World Cup in 1966.

The Government has previously pushed back pub closing times for royal weddings, the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the Fifa World Cup in 2014 and the last Euro final in 2022.

The Home Secretary, under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003, can make an order relaxing licensing hours to mark occasions of “exceptional national significance”.

The legislation will be laid in Parliament on Wednesday to ensure there is enough time for it to be debated and passed before the tournament begins.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said it was up to local licensing boards whether or not to allow pubs to extend their opening hours.