Big screen for World Cup final in Portsmouth has still not been ruled out

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council is still looking at options for playing the World Cup final on a big screen in Portsmouth – but will have to move quickly to get everything sorted on time.

Discussions about potential options to show the final of the World Cup – which could include England if tomorrow’s fixture against Croatia goes our way – are still ongoing, according to council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

While it is too late to sort anything for the semi-final match, the council leader has refused to rule out doing something for the final.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I am continuing to work on things and we have several options that we can explore.

‘The police have been very clear that we cannot have football shown on the Big Screen in Guildhall Square – it is too small a site to get everyone in.

‘That advice has been clear from the outset, but we are exploring the other options available to us.’

One of the options that could come to fruition is the use of Southsea Common – with Cllr Vernon-Jackson saying that 70,000 people would be able to watch the final down there, costing the idea at around £125,000.

He said: 'That figure of £125,000 is to host the event on Southsea Common, open for a screen with space for 70,000 people to turn up.

‘That is a lot of money but it would be nice to do something for the World Cup final, if we can.’

It is still unconfirmed if an event will be taking place or not, with the council potentially making an announcement in the next few days.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has been campaigning for the World Cup to be shown on a big screen in the city.

He said: ‘I am relieved Cllr Vernon-Jackson is finally listening to the practical and positive idea put forward last week to bring our community together to celebrate and watch England’s progress in the World Cup.

‘It was such a shame to see the Big Screen showing the tennis rather than the quarter finals, whilst Southsea Common and the Bandstand were empty.

‘This is a once in a generation opportunity for our country and city.

‘I hope the council leader can bang some heads together and give it our best shot. If other cities can manage it, so can Portsmouth.’