Alberta onside with soccer fans to extend bar hours for World Cup

Alberta onside with soccer fans to extend bar hours for World Cup

When the 21st FIFA World Cup kicks off later this week in Russia, fans watching the game here in Alberta will be able to watch the game and enjoy a tall, cold one if they like.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission is allowing bars and restaurants to open earlier between June 14 and July 15 to accommodate the early games.

"The FIFA World Cup is one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world," said Finance Minister Joe Ceci in a news release Tuesday.

"We are extending hours for these games and encourage all members of Alberta's soccer community to get together and cheer on their teams."

Edmonton-Ellerslie MLA Rod Loyola pressed Ceci for the extension last week in the legislature after fielding a number of requests from his soccer-mad constituents.

"The soccer community is close-knit and it makes sense to get together to watch the beautiful game," Loyola said.

Due to the time difference between Canada and Russia, most of the games will be broadcast first thing in the morning, some kicking off as early as 4 a.m.

The extension allows bars the option of serving booze to fans at the beginning of each FIFA World Cup game.  

However, the blanket approval is only in effect when games start outside of regular serving hours.

The biggest challenge for soccer fans now might be finding a bar open early enough where they can watch their team, and enjoy a drink.

The World Cup kicks off with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia, the ball gets rolling on Thursday at 9 a.m.