A woman from Yorkshire paid a huge price for lying that she was sick only to be seen at the stadium watching semi-final football match between England and Denmark.
Digital content producer Nina Farooqi pretended to be sick so she could travel from Ilkley, west Yorkshire, to London for the Euro semi-final match.
She said her friend had won last-minute tickets through a ballot and that her company was unlikely to give her the day off due to being short-staffed. So she did what many people in that situation normally do. She called in sick!
But in an unfortunate turn of events, and despite believing she was unlikely to be spotted in a crowd of 60,000 fans, Farooqi’s face was broadcasted to the millions of people watching the game at home.
She said her phone ‘blew up’ at half-time, with messages from friends in Australia and the US who told her they saw her on TV.
Farooqi also discovered that even a TV presenter Stacey Dooley had shared the footage on Instagram.
But her work had still not contacted her, so she perhaps thought they didn’t see her. However, during her 6 am train back home, her boss phoned and told her not to come in.
An England fan has said she'd "do it all over again" after being fired when she was caught on live television pulling a sickie to go to the Euros 2020 semi-finalhttps://t.co/Lq29X1qgRY
— LBC (@LBC) July 9, 2021
The 37-year-old told The Daily Telegraph: ‘They said they’d seen I’d been at the game, and I was honest about why I did it. But I didn’t get any sympathy at all and they said that’s it. That’s their call and the consequence of what I did.
“There is a bit of regret, no one wants to get fired, but then also I would have hated the regret of missing out. I’d do it all over again.
“This hasn’t come around since 1996, I vividly remember crying on my mum’s sofa when Gareth Southgate missed his penalty, and the football fan in me just couldn’t do it. Football is my life.”
Farooqi said she used her office job to fund her trips to football games while freelancing as a football photographer and video producer and that friends in the women’s game had rallied round to source offers of new work for her.
She added: ‘This hasn’t come around since 1996, I vividly remember crying on my mum’s sofa when Gareth Southgate missed his penalty, and the football fan in me just couldn’t do it. Football is my life.’
England defeated Denmark 2-1 in the semi-final match and will now face Italy in the final on Sunday.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 7, 2021