England football flag

World Cup football fever takes over the home of rugby

The men’s football World Cup is forcing a change across pubs in the home of rugby, Twickenham. 

Many pubs in the area often choose not to show football matches during the course of a regular season. 

However, the World Cup is proving a source of contention with many pubs choosing to make an exception and give the home of rugby a football focus. 

Kevin O’Callaghan, 57, manager of The White Swan said: “We’d be silly not to show it.” 

The World Cup is being hosted in Qatar this year and will be the first time the tournament has been held in the Arab world and during the northern hemisphere’s winter. 

The pub, located on Twickenham riverside, usually welcomes rugby fans and those looking to enjoy a meal.

Kick-Off: The front of The White Swan

The establishment would prefer to stay free from football, but after the success of the England team in the later stages of the Euro 2020 found those interested in watching the games increased.

However, the decision comes as managers and owners are concerned about the behaviour of punters looking to cheer on the three lions. 

O’Callaghan added: “The last thing we want is someone having a nice meal and people are screaming and shouting at the TV.

“We’ll show the England group games but we won’t advertise it and make a big deal of it.” 

Another Twickenham pub, looking to switch from rugby to football during the tournament is The Albany Pub & Dining Room, on Queen’s Road. 

The director and owner, Barbara Fry, 45, said: “When England are on, we’ll have them on.”  

She noted that while they hadn’t had a lot of enquires about upcoming football games there was a general buzz around international competitions. 

Open doors: the front of The Albany Pub & Dining Room, Twickenham

Fry said: “When it’s on and national games it piques everyone’s interest, people that don’t necessarily watch or follow a team.”

However, it had not gone unnoticed by the owner that the recent controversy about this year’s hosts could have left punters uncertain about whether or not to watch the tournament. 

She added: “It’s all at the wrong time of year, there are a lot of bad vibes about Qatar.” 

Issues surrounding this year’s World Cup have dominated headlines.

From bribery to migrant worker deaths, and the country’s official stance on the rights of LGBTQ+ people. 

The usual excitement in the build-up to one of the world’s biggest international sporting events has understandably been dampened.

Featured image credit: Pixabay

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