England v Wales match could cost UK economy millions

Will you be watching tomorrow's England and Wales match at work, or skiving to enjoy it in the pub?

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th June 2016, 12:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:48 pm
England's Eric Dier (centre) celebrates scoring their first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille
England's Eric Dier (centre) celebrates scoring their first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille

As the nation will come to a standstill tomorrow afternoon when the two British rival nations meet at Euro 2016 in a crucial Group B encounter, new research reveals it could cost the UK economy £200m.

Research by Preston-based Begbies Traynor, which specialises in areas of corporate recovery, insolvency and finance, has revealed that 73 per cent of HR managers believe some employees are likely to call in sick or make some other excuse for absence.

Out of 1,500 UK workers, a third revealed that they would take unauthorised leave to watch a major sporting event such as England vs Wales.

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85 per cent admitted that they would spend, on average, 20 minutes each day checking football scores, reading match reports and browsing social media at work.

England's daytime clash with Wales could cost the UK economy over £200m in lost work productivity, as football fans take unauthorised leave to watch the match.

Ayman Fazeli, content manager of Begbies Traynor, said: "It's no surprise that the economy is expected to benefit from our Home Nations progressing into the latter stages at Euro 2016; the feel-good factor that surrounds a winning football team is often reflected in more money spent in pubs, clubs, supermarkets and retail outlets.

"But what is surprising is just how many people are willing to risk potential disciplinary action at work by 'pulling a sickie' to watch the football – particularly the England vs Wales match which falls on a workday afternoon.

"In this instance where the game is so eagerly-anticipated between two rival British nations and workplace productivity is likely to drop, company bosses may be best applying a 'better the devil you know' strategy of screening the game at work. This is likely to boost team morale while an inflexible approach could prove counter-productive."

But, on the flip side, The Chamber of Commerce predicts that the UK economy will benefit by up to £2.5bn in additional spending by consumers during Euro 2016 – a similar level to that seen during the 2014 World Cup.

In years when international football tournaments take place, England has seen average consumer spending growth rise from 0.26 per cent to 0.41 per cent between the second and third quarter

Companies most likely to see a boost include Just Eat, Sainsbury's, Ladbrokes, easyJet, Sports Direct and Halfords, according retail analysts. In general, retail, pubs, clubs and gambling firms are the sectors predicted to benefit if the Home Nations progress well in the tournament.

An early exit for England could lead to the national market falling by 0.3 per cent the next day. When applied to the UK stock market, this translates into a single-day loss of £6 billion.

Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Economics said: "The better the home nation countries do, the greater the potential boost to the economy. If there are widespread early exits, there will be a large number of souvenirs and even replica kits in the bargain buckets."