An employment lawyer has warned England fans they could be sacked if they pull a sickie to watch World Cup matches this winter.

The tournament in Qatar is less than two weeks away, and with England's opening match kicking off at 1pm on a Monday, many workers may be tempted to call in sick to watch it.

However, the law firm Richard Nelson LLP has warned England fans that taking this action could lead to them being dismissed.

Andrew Knorpel, the consultant solicitor in the employment law team at Richard Nelson LLP, said: “With England having come agonisingly close to winning the European Championships last year, the anticipation around the World Cup will only grow in the coming week.

The Westmorland Gazette: Due to time differences between Qatar and the UK, England's opening game will kick off at 1pmDue to time differences between Qatar and the UK, England's opening game will kick off at 1pm  

“Due to the time difference, many of the games are being played during working hours. While many England fans may be worried about missing the team’s first group-stage match, we’d encourage them to have an open discussion with their employers about their working arrangements for that day. 

“Where possible many companies may be able to offer an extended lunch break or even remote working for the afternoon and this is something we’d encourage. 

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“If this cannot be granted, employees should consider taking annual leave rather than resorting to pulling a sickie. If an employer thinks their employee has called in sick and it is not genuine, they can investigate the case and take disciplinary action over unauthorised absence.”

Richard Nelson LLP also added that if a worker does lie or exaggerate an illness for the purpose of getting time off work when in reality they are fine, then it could amount to gross misconduct.

This could then lead to a specific reason for dismissal from their job.