Corner shop owners in Wembley say they are at risk of going out of business after new council rules have stopped them selling alcohol during football matches. 

Brent Council introduced a ban on local off-licences selling booze on days where large events are being held at Wembley Stadium in response to the chaotic scenes at last year’s Euro 2020 final. 

It said the new rules have been a “success”, with a significant drop in anti-social behaviour and littering in the area. But local businesses said they are being “punished” for something that wasn’t their fault and, if things don’t change, they could be forced to close down. 


Zaid Appasi, who runs Friend’s Off-Licence near Wembley Park Station, said he relies on the income brought in during sports events at the stadium. He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Football is our season, we need it to make money.

“This decision by the council has had a big, big impact on our business. They say they want to help the local economy and then they do this. This is our livelihood. I’ve been here for more than 20 years and, in all that time, there’s never been any trouble, any fighting. 

“If they really want to do something, they could maybe stop us selling alcohol an hour before and an hour after the game. But 24 hours is crazy.”

Harrow Times: Wembley Shops (Credit: Adam Shaw) can be used by LDRS

Deler Gulati, who owns a shop on the other side of the stadium, said the council was using the drunken scenes at the Euros as an “excuse” to make it look like they are taking action. He said: “We are the losers in all of this, we are being punished for something that the police and the council didn’t deal with. 

“This was a total one-off, a once in a century match. It’s ruined everything for us. Who’s going to pay our bills? They speak of a cost of living crisis, we need to make money as well. If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have extended my lease. I’d have gotten out of here because these new rules are totally unfair.”

Mr Gulati said shops near the stadium must pay a premium to trade in the area due to the increased footfall on match days. He said this is still in place despite the new booze ban. 

He said corner shops face a “double hit” as local customers usually stay away when events are taking place, while fans will often avoid the shop entirely now they can’t buy alcohol. Mr Gulati said: “People would come in before and they wouldn’t just buy beer, they’d pick up some sweets or soft drinks. Now we don’t have any of that. It’s affected us in a huge way.” 

Amir Khan, from Wembley Park Express, said he too has noticed a clear drop in sales after the new rules were put in place.  He said he expects to be okay as alcohol sales don’t dominate his income like they do for other shops, but he still disagrees with the council’s decision. 

Mr Khan said: “You can see a clear difference. We have to pay extra business rates and now we’ve lost one of the main reasons for being here. I know that some of the smaller shops in Wembley will have to close down eventually. They cannot cope without being able to sell alcohol.”


The shop owner added he sometimes has to deal with fans being aggressive when they find out they can’t buy booze from his shop. He said: “They might have been drinking on the train or in the pubs and they want to buy more beer. When you tell them they can’t, it can be an unpleasant experience.”

In the run up to this year’s Carabao Cup Final, the first match where the new rules came into effect, the council told off-licences close to the stadium it is their responsibility not to sell alcohol to potential street drinkers. It also urged shops not to get in more stock before match days. 

It said: “Whilst we understand that alcohol sales on event days may be valuable trade for off-licences, Brent Council must balance these considerations with that of the safety of residents and visitors to the local area.”

The ban will be in place for this Sunday’s Women’s Euros Final between England and Germany, where local businesses could be fined up to £1,000 if they are caught selling alcohol to fans.