One in eleven workers who intend to watch England’s first game will skive off to do so

Peter RavenData Journalist
November 18, 2022, 10:27 AM GMT+0

The productivity of more than a third of those who intend to watch the match will be lost entirely, the equivalent of 13% of the workforce in England

The last time England played an international tournament fixture on a weekday during normal working hours was when they faced Wales in a 2pm kick off at Euro 2016. Employees downing tools to watch the game was estimated to have cost the UK economy more than £250m in lost productivity.

On Monday, England fans will, once again, find themselves facing a similar dilemma in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as Gareth Southgate’s side face Iran at 1pm.

Skiving off work to watch the game could prove risky, with an employment lawyer warning that fans could be sacked if they watch the World Cup when they should be working. One fan discovered this the hard way during Euro 2020 when she was spotted at Wembley after calling in sick and was promptly dismissed.

Now a new YouGov RealTime survey reveals that one in eleven English workers who intend to watch England’s opening fixture (9%) say they intend to sneak in their viewing during work without their employer knowing. This is equivalent to 3% of the working population giving work a miss to watch the game without telling their boss.

While one in eight English workers who intend to watch the Three Lions (12%) will make up the lost hours at another time, the productivity of more than a third (38%) will be lost entirely. In addition to the aforementioned skivers, this includes 13% who have arranged to take time off to watch the fixture and another 16% watching the game with their employer’s approval. This combined group is the equivalent of roughly 13% of the workforce in England.

Only a quarter of those intending to follow the World Cup intend to venture to the pub for any of the matches

With pub landlords hoping for an upturn in trade after missing out on an estimated £155 million summer World Cup boost, a quarter of Britons planning to watch the tournament (24%) say they expect to watch games in a pub or bar.

But, with the colder weather of a winter tournament and the cost of living crisis, 85% of Britons planning to watch the World Cup have said they will do so at home.