LONDON (AP) — The Premier League has pushed forward the starting times of its midweek games to ensure pub-going fans in England don’t miss the final minutes of matches amid ramped-up coronavirus restrictions in the country.

The British government has announced that pubs must close at the earlier time of 10 p.m. in England in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

That would mean soccer fans watching Premier League games in pubs would miss the closing stages of the 8:15 p.m. kickoffs, especially those with extended periods of stoppage time.

The league reacted Wednesday by saying that midweek games scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m. will now kick off 15 minutes earlier, beginning with Liverpool vs. Arsenal on Monday.

Fans could still be caught out, though, if there are lengthy delays in matches because of VAR decisions or serious injuries, for example.

When Liverpool played Arsenal at Anfield in 2011, the match featured 12 1/2 minutes of stoppage time in the second half alone because of a lengthy injury delay. Dirk Kuyt converted a penalty for Liverpool in the 12th minute of added time to secure a 1-1 draw.


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