An England fan was fired from her job after calling out sick and later being shown in the stands during the global broadcast of the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 semifinals earlier this week.
Nina Farooqi, 37, a former digital content producer for the decking company Composite Prime, said she pretended to be sick in order to travel from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, to Wembley Stadium in London to watch England's 2-1 victory, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Farooqi said she and a friend scored last-minute tickets, but was unlikely to take a personal day as her job was short-staffed.
The superfan said the opportunity was too good to pass up so she decided to catch a lunchtime train from Leeds to London in order to make the evening match on time.
But a highlight of the match quickly led to her demise as Farooqi and her friend were shown celebrating England's match-tying goal in the 39th-minute on BBC's live broadcast.
The 37-year-old said her phone "blew up" with messages from friends worldwide who saw her on their television screen, and even noticedBBCpresenter Stacey Dooley shared footage of her celebration on Instagram.
Unfortunately, Nina's bosses at Composite Prime were also aware of her attending the match and told her not to bother coming into work.
‘They said they’d seen I’d been at the game, and I was honest about why I did it," Farooqi told the Daily Telegraph. ‘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."
Farooqi said she used her job to fund trips to football games as she worked as a freelance football photographer and video producer and added that she's received help from friends in the women's game that have sourced offers for new jobs.
"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 of England clinching the Euro 2020 Final.
Charles Taylor, director at Composite Prime, suggested he would have allowed Farooqi to attend the match had she been honest.
"It’s an exciting time for everyone in England and given the opportunity, we would have encouraged attendance to such an important football match.
"Unfortunately on this occasion, our employee lied, taking one day off sick to attend the football match on Wednesday 7 July. This was in breach of her employment contract and so we had no choice but to take the appropriate action.
"As a business, we value honesty and integrity, and we don’t tolerate any employee taking advantage of our policies. Like many businesses will be doing across the county, our staff will be having Monday morning off to hopefully recover from celebrating an England win."
England will face Italy in the Euro 2020 Final on Sunday, July 9, 2021.