LICENSING chiefs in Edinburgh have slapped a ban on pubs opening early for the Scottish Cup Final this month - after protests from the police.
More than 20 licensees had asked for extended hours, some at either end of the day, to take advantage of demand from supporters of Hibs and Hearts.
But police forces in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, where the historic showdown is taking place, were against allowing pubs to open as early as 9am on the big day.
Licensing officials in Edinburgh - who took the decision in a private meeting - said it was made based on “strong objections” from police.
There were concerns over the extensions causing a public nuisance, posing a risk to public safety and helping curb disorder throughout the day.
Alcohol abuse campaigners had already expressed their opposition to any extension of hours - although some pubs are given extensions every August during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Although 50,000 fans will be travelling to travel to Glasgow many ticketless fans are expected to pack out pubs across the capital.
Although the original objections were made from Lothian and Borders officers it was thought Strathclyde chiefs were also concerned how the move would impact on possible drunken behaviour of those travelling through to Hampden.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Licensing Board said: “Scottish Cup Final day will be a momentous occasion for the city and it is our aim to ensure that everyone enjoys this historic day.
“The decision was taken to refuse all applications for extended opening hours based on strong objections from the police.
“An expected 50,000 fans will be travelling through to Glasgow for the match with many more staying in Edinburgh. As a board, the safety of all these people is our main concern and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure the day is enjoyed by all.”
Business leaders in the capital have predicted a multi-million pound spin-off for the city, even though the Scottish Football Association refused pleas to move the game to Murrayfield to help allow more fans to attend.
The Scottish Cup Final also coincides with two other major sporting occasions - European football’s Champions League showpiece and rugby’s equivalent event, the Heineken Cup Final.
However chief superintendent Gill Imery, divisional commander for Edinburgh, said: “Lothian and Borders Police and their partner agencies are committed to ensuring that the Scottish Cup Final between Heart of Midlothian FC and Hibernian FC is able to be enjoyed by all of those who wish to see it.
“Robust planning for the policing operation is already underway and both forces provided advice and guidance to the licensing board during their consideration of licence extension applications from a number of premises across the capital.
“The safety of all fans travelling to the match and those who chose to watch within a licensed establishment remains at the heart of all planning and we will continue to work alongside our various partners to ensure the day passes without incident.”
A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police added: “We can confirm we wrote to the chief constable of Lothian and Borders supporting their opposition to the extension of any licences.”