PUBS across Chard and Ilminster are banking on a boost in trade ahead of this month’s football World Cup.

The global competition, hosted in Brazil, kicks off on June 12 and landlords across the region are keeping their fingers crossed for some national team success along with some happy punters and tills ringing.

David Mears, landlord of The Crown Inn, Ilminster, said trade generally doubles during global events like the World Cup.

He said: “When the national team are playing we get a lot busier because it brings everyone together.

“We have VIP areas and activities after the England matches. I think it benefits the town pubs more than the village ones but if you have the facilities to show it then you have to.”

Steve Jones, owner of the Phoenix Hotel, Chard, said: “The first game might make it quiet because rather than people standing up and dancing they’ll be sitting down watching the football.

“But the second two England games should be busier – there is an increase for the trade as a whole.

“Even though a lot of people can watch it at home, they come out for the atmosphere.”

Football fans will be able to enjoy World Cup matches without the pubs shutting early after the Home Office announced that licensing laws would be relaxed during some England matches.

It will allow pubs and bars to stay open until 1am when England’s matches kick-off after 8pm.

England’s first match against Italy kicks off at 11pm on Saturday, June 14 followed by an 8pm kick off versus Uruguay on Thursday, June 19 and a 5pm kick off against Costa Rica on Thursday, June 24.

Lyn Williams, landlady at The Dolphin, in Ilminster, said: “We hope it will be busy. We are putting on food when England play late matches.”

Police are hoping punters enjoy the matches safely and say despite anti-violence patrols monitoring Yeovil, they do not foresee any problems in Chard or Ilminster.

Sgt Rob Jameson said: “If there is a need for more officers in the outlying towns then officers will come over from there. We hope to have a few more people on but nothing specific, normally we do not have any problems from the pubs.”