Yellow card for premier over Sydney’s late World Cup site

Six months ago, the Socceroos qualified for the World Cup. But it wasn’t until Thursday, after seeing footage of the cheering, heaving crowd in Melbourne’s Federation Square in the early hours of that morning, that the NSW government thought of opening a live site for Sydneysiders.

Humiliated, it took only hours for the government to stand up at the Tumbalong Park ground in Darling Harbor ahead of Australia’s round of 16 with Argentina on Sunday morning. Which makes us wonder: shouldn’t someone have thought of this sooner?

We’re not talking about orchestrating the Olympics or the moon landing here. You put a big screen in a public place and maybe set up a few chairs.

But it seems that in NSW doing something simple, cheap and obvious to benefit the public is an afterthought, or rather, one that we are shamed for by our friends from the south.

It may be late, but at least Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet took swift action and made sure it happened after Australia’s 1-0 win over Denmark. Although in true Sydney style, the site is “alcohol free” so you can expect a wall of goons going through people’s bags and seizing all contraband.

Perrottet said it was a family-friendly event, noting that the game kicks off at 6am on Sunday. He also said the government had already extended hotel opening times for the World Cup. “If you want a drink, go to the pub,” he said.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet will help prepare meals for the Open For Lunch event in Sydney on Friday.Credit:Jane Barrett

Sure, but a lot of normal people with families probably wouldn’t mind a beer or two, even at church. This goes back to a matter of trust, and for a long time the NSW Government and Police have not trusted the average gambler to go through life unrestricted and unregulated.

The Inner West Council will run a live site in Enmore Park and Mayor Darcy Byrne confirmed it would not be an alcohol-free zone. “Normal park and common sense guidelines will apply,” he said. “We expect it to be a fun, family-friendly event.”

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