Durham bar drops plans for 6am licence to screen Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder boxing match after police raise concerns

Plans for almost 500 people to be allowed to watch Tyson Fury fight Deontay Wilder in a Durham City bar have been shelved.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 20th February 2020, 11:04 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 12:23 pm

Player’s Bar, Walkergate, had applied for permission to keep serving alcohol up to 6am on February 23 while it screened the WBC world heavyweight title bout.

But boxing fans will now have to find somewhere else to watch the match, which is due to be staged at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, after bosses decided to withdraw their proposal.

Speaking at a meeting of Durham County Council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee, Michael Wathen, general manager at Players Bar, told the panel he was ‘happy to take a step back’ in light of safety and noise concerns.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury during the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 1, 2018. Picture by Lionel Hahn/PA Wire

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It is a late application and we are a sports bar, however we heard the concerns, we’re not a major city and the provisions aren’t there to get patrons home.

“We have a duty of care to get people home, as well as to the local community and we want to promote that relationship.”

He added: “When a fight happens overseas the timings can be difficult, the Anthony Joshua fight [against Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia, in December (2019)] was a more reasonable time and was well attended.”

Players Bar, the former Loveshack, already has permission to sell alcohol up to 2am every day of the week, with closing time set at 2.30am.

The ‘temporary event notice’ application asked to extend the time allowed to serve alcohol to 6am for the showing of a ‘late night sporting event’, to which ‘no more than 499 people’ will be allowed entry.

This prompted Durham Constabulary to warn: “This will leave up to 499 people, who have potentially been drinking all night, in the city with no obvious and accessible means of getting home all gathered in one place.

“Our concern is the noise and associated nuisance the revellers will cause as they call and wait for taxis or walk through the city in search of transport.”

Following the decision to withdraw the application, Sgt Dean Haythornthwaite thanked the bar’s management ‘for their understanding’.