World Cup final could get big screen treatment in city

Gareth Southgate's England team celebrate at the World Cup. Picture: Bleacher Report (labelled for reuse)
Gareth Southgate's England team celebrate at the World Cup. Picture: Bleacher Report (labelled for reuse)

FOOTBALL really could be coming home as talks begin to provide public screenings of the World Cup final in Portsmouth – if the Three Lions go all the way. 

At today's full council meeting the council’s boss for sport, councillor Steve Pitt, revealed he was looking at options for a community showing of Sunday’s game – which could feature England if they beat Croatia tomorrow – with a final decision expected tomorrow.

Speaking at the meeting Cllr Pitt said: ‘We had a discussion about it with Superintendent Maggie Blyth about it as we want to work closely with the police. And we have been talking to the Safety Advisory Group. It is important that we do this properly.

'This is potentially the biggest event to happen for years. We will work closely with the police for the best possible outcome.’

A popular destination of choice for the screening was Southsea Common, although Tory Cllr Donna Jones, who raised the issue as an urgent question, suggested other venues as well.

She said: ‘Will the cabinet member agree to work with me to consider plans to allow the people of Portsmouth to watch the World Cup final [should England reach it], in a public place on a big screen such as the Common?

‘Would the cabinet member also support me in working with venues such as action stations, community centres, and Portsmouth Football Club who have indicated they will screen the game in the Victory Lounge?’

It is thought showing the football at Southsea Common could cost the council around £175,000.

The verdict is expected tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow evening’s semi-final match, which kicks off at 7pm, will not be shown in a public space in the city.