World Cup deserves extended drinking hours, says Edmonton MLA

If Edmonton-Ellerslie MLA Rod Loyola gets his way, World Cup soccer fans will be able to enjoy the beautiful game with a tall cold one in hand first thing in the morning.

FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia June 14

Russia is hosting the World Cup which begins June 14. Due to the time difference between Canada and Russia most of the games will be broadcast in the early morning. (Manu Fernandez/The Associated Press)

If Edmonton-Ellerslie MLA Rod Loyola gets his way, World Cup soccer fans will be able to enjoy the beautiful game with a tall, cold one in hand first thing in the morning.

Loyola wants the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to extend serving hours for licensed bars and restaurants in the province for the upcoming FIFA World Cup which starts in Russia on June 14, and wraps up with the final on July 15.  

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

"I had a few constituents come up to me and say, 'Where are you going to be watching the game?' and you know, 'Are we going to be able to have a cold one watching that?' " Loyola said.

Alberta's Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci already seems to be warming up to the idea, saying the AGLC will have an answer for soccer fans sometime early next week.  

"Of course we want to do this in a socially-responsible way," Ceci said. "We don't want anyone to get a red card, or to be kind of off side with regards to all of this."  

Winter Olympics

Loyola is looking for similar serving rules put in place during the Winter Olympics in February.

Hockey fans were able to grab a drink in bars and watch Canada's men's hockey team compete for Olympic bronze.

Bars and restaurants were allowed to open at 4:30 a.m. and start serving liquor a half hour later.

"Just to be clear, we're not looking for liquor to be sold at anytime," Loyola said. "What I'm specifically asking the minister is if we can do 30 minutes before each game, during the game, and then 30 minutes after the game."

Bars in Loyola's constituency are already on board.

"The World Cup is a huge event," said Deep Gill, who owns the Polo Social Lounge.

"If AGLC can accommodate establishments, intending to promote their venues as the place to be for soccer fans, it would be a great boost for small businesses," Gill said.

The first game of the 32-team tournament kicks off next Thursday at 9 a.m. between host Russia and Saudi Arabia.