Office workers celebrating a goal


Do I need a TV licence to watch the World Cup?     

15 November 2022

The Men’s 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar later this month, with the first ball set to be played on Sunday 20th of November at 16:00 UK time. It’s a clash between hosts Qatar and Group A opponents Ecuador and is sure to set the stage for the rest of the tournament.

Due to the time difference between the UK and Qatar, many of the games will be played during office hours, which is causing many people to start wondering if they will be allowed to have the games on in the background whilst they work.

Now of course, the answer to this depends on what your bosses say – the legality of it however boils down to whether your workplace is covered by a TV licence, otherwise your business could be subject to fines.

Individuals who have a TV licence at home are not covered when watching or recording TV via any channel or service when away from their address. The only exception to this is if their device is not plugged into mains power whilst watching TV, for example on a smartphone running off a battery. In this instance the TV licence at the individuals address is sufficient.

Ensuring a valid licence is applied to the workplace address is the responsibility of the business itself. As a result, business owners must ensure they have a TV licence for their business if staff or visitors watch or record TV via any TV service (including live TV or internet streaming services) whilst at work or at the business premises.

If you are a business owner with several addresses and want to allow your staff to watch TV at work (including the World Cup) then you need to ensure each premises is covered by a Company Group TV Licence. This is a special licence which will cover multiple addresses and should be more cost effective than purchasing an individual licence for each address.

More information about this can be found on the TV Licencing website.

Certain types of business may be able to get special rates on their TV licence, these include:

  • Armed Forces
  • Community Groups and Schools
  • Hospitals and Care Homes
  • Hospitality Settings
  • TV Dealers

People working from home are not covered by their workplace TV licence and therefore, in order to watch TV at home, a valid TV licence needs to be purchased for that address. This even includes watching World Cup matches on streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.

Assuming your business premises has a TV licence, or you have a licence at home and your line manager has approved your request to watch the matches, then you’re all set to hopefully enjoy some live football whilst you’re at work! 

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