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Alberta eyes pub time changes so fans can gather, hoist a few during World Cup

EDMONTON — Alberta is considering whether to change its bar hours so soccer fans can gather in the early mornings to watch the World Cup and hoist a few.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says he will have the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission look at the idea and make a decision before the international tournament begins June 14.

The tournament is being held in Russia and some games in the early rounds will start at 6 a.m. Alberta time.

The pitch for opening bars early is coming from NDP backbencher Rod Loyola.

Loyola says he and other soccer fans would like to see bars open a half hour before and after the games.

Ceci says a similar rule has been in place in the past for Olympic hockey, but he wants to make sure any change will not affect public safety.

“We want to do this in a socially responsible way,” Ceci said Thursday.

“We don’t want anyone to get a red card or to be offside with regards to all of this.”

Loyola suggests any changes should only kick in when the games are on.

“This brings the community together so they can sit down with their friends, neighbours, have a cold one and watch a good game.”

Loyola said his team is Chile, but since the country is not in the tournament he is rooting for all South American and Latin American teams.

Ceci said he’s cheering for Iceland.

The Canadian Press