Fans in dark on plans for World Cup parties in Leeds

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Football fans in Leeds face a waiting game over plans to show England’s World Cup matches on the giant screen in Millennium Square.

Thousands of supporters have flocked to watch the Three Lions in action on the screen during previous international tournaments.

This summer, however, one of England’s three World Cup group games – the meeting with Italy on June 14 – does not kick off until 11pm UK time.

The side’s other two group fixtures, against Uruguay on June 19 and Costa Rica on June 24, start at 8pm and 5pm respectively UK time.

Asked what Leeds City Council’s plans were for the tournament in Brazil, a spokeswoman said: “We intend to show matches on the big screen but are working on the details and considerations of doing this.”

It is understood that one of the “considerations” still to be addressed is what to do about games that take place outside the site’s normal operational hours.

England’s matches were shown on a temporary screen in Millennium Square during the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. A permanent screen in front of the site’s Carriageworks arts complex was switched on for the first time in late 2005.

At that stage it was jointly managed by the council and the BBC and fears were voiced that the Corporation might object to showing games being broadcast by their rivals at ITV during the 2006 World Cup.

In the event, however, a deal was reached so that screenings could go ahead irrespective of the lead TV station.

Today the council has sole control of the screen and can show any mainstream free-to-air channel.

Pubs will be able to stay open during the World Cup until 1am on nights when England play matches that start at 8pm UK time or later.

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