TOWN centre bosses have ruled out screening England’s semi final clash on the big screen.

There had been hopes a fanzone could have been set up in Swindon’s Wharf Green, where yesterday a St George’s flag hung limp beside a massive outdoor screen. Towns like Ipswich saw thousands of fans enjoy the Three Lions’ quarter final match under blue skies on Saturday.

But it has been ruled out by town centre managers inSwindon and Swindon Borough Council. They say a massive screen on Wharf Green is broken and orders banning drinking alcohol in town centre public spaces would make showing the Croatia game difficult and put a dampener on celebrations.

Coun David Renard, leader of the borough council, said: “The large screen in Wharf Green was decommissioned last year. Given its age and condition, it is in need of repair and, sadly, the funding is not currently available to carry out that work or replace it, particularly at such short notice. I will be watching the match and will be cheering England on to what we hope will be their first World Cup final in 52 years.”

Rachael Youd, business development manager at inSwindon, said: “We would encourage people to come into the town centre, as there are plenty of places showing the big game.”

Labour group leader Coun Jim Grant said it would have been too short notice to set up a screen in Wharf Green. However, he urged the council to consider something similar for the future: “I think the council needs to be more proactive in instigating events like these that bring people together.”

“With the Half Marathon being brought forward by three hours to an 8am start and no fanzone for the World Cup in Swindon, it just feels like the Council is not being as encouraging as it could be to make these events happen.”

Swindon Advertiser readers have largely backed suggestions of a fanzone in Swindon. Of more than a thousand people who voted in a poll on the Adver website, three-quarters said they wanted to see a large-scale outdoor screening in the town.

Jim Stone, 68, from Dorcan, said: “It would be great. I’d watch it. It’s England, isn’t it. It would be good to watch it with loads of other fans.”

Liden man Thomas Hawk-Vango, 20, added: “I’d definitely go and watch it there. It would be amazing. I would throw my beer up the air as well. I watched the last Euros in Spain and did that.”

Robert Simonczicz, 21, also from Liden, said: “It would be great to have all the community together, in our town supporting our country. I’d really like that.”

But Lauren Webb, 20, from Old Walcot, said she would prefer to watch the game in the pub.

Mat Read feared exuberant fans could end up vandalising nearby shops. He posted on Facebook: “People can’t be trusted to behave and not trash nearby open venues.”

A spokesman for Swindon Town Football Club said yesterday morning there was no plan to show the game on an outdoor screen at the County Ground. Lydiard Park, which has hosted outdoor film screenings, also said they did not plan to show the football.

A series of outdoor screenings of World Cup games at the Old Town Bowl, Town Gardens, were cancelled in May. Organisers AJ Mayhew and Paul Bullimore blamed rising costs: “The Old Town Bowl is a beautiful venue, however there are high infrastructure costs compared to more purpose built venues like venue hire, security, public liability, lighting, sound crew, additional toilets and removal of waste.”