Ontario to sell alcohol earlier during the FIFA World Cup

Various alcoholic beverages. (Photo courtesy Can Stock Photo Inc. / draghicich)

Ontarians wanting to enjoy a pint while watching their favourite soccer team play will find it easier to do so.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued a statement Friday saying that Ontario liquor licence holders will be allowed to start serving alcoholic beverages at 7 a.m. during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The extension begins on Sunday morning and will run through the final match on December 18.

The AGCO said the eight-hour time difference between the province and Qatar made the extension of hours feasible, and it also applies to outdoor seating areas, like patios.

“While temporary extensions are not normally provided for events taking place outside of the province or applicable to outdoor licensed areas, the Registrar recognizes that the FIFA World Cup 2022 is an event of international significance for many communities in Ontario and is one of the most watched sporting events in the world,” read the notice from the AGCO. “In Ontario specifically, the tournament attracts a large and enthusiastic following within the province‚Äôs broad multicultural communities.”

Municipalities can object to the extension of hours and file an objection with the AGCO. Following receipt of an objection request, hours for alcohol sales in the affected municipality will remain from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

This edition of the World Cup is significant for Canadians as it is the first time since 1986 that Team Canada will be on soccer’s biggest stage.