Hundreds of soccer fans who planned to watch Sunday’s World Cup final at the Arlington Theatre will have to look elsewhere for a gathering place. The 2,000-seat downtown movie palace is not licensed to offer a commercial screening of the match between Spain and the Netherlands, it was disclosed this week.

Arlington manager Karen Killingsworth expressed regret that the event has to be canceled. Spectators filled the theater when it showed the U.S.-Ghana match on June 26, and five other free World Cup shows drew good turnouts.

“People seemed to enjoy getting together, especially families who wouldn’t watch the games in bars,” Killingsworth said. “I know people will be disappointed if they come here Sunday and didn’t know [about the cancellation].”

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is the licensing authority for broadcasts of the World Cup. It was too late for the Arlington to obtain a license, Killingsworth said. Public establishments that show the match on regular TV screens are not affected.

David Corwin, president of Metropolitan Theatres, said the experiment may lead to more sports shows at the Arlington in the future. “We know it is a venue where the community likes to congregate, so other presentations will be considered,” Corwin said. “We also hope to be able to display marquee sporting events in 3D soon.”


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