Woman sacked after pulling a sickie to watch England v Denmark at Wembley

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When England forced their first-half equaliser against Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final on Wednesday evening, tens of millions around the nation exploded with joy.

For one unlucky woman, though, her celebrations would prove to be very costly indeed.

Digital content producer Nina Farooqi must have been pretty pleased when she beat the odds to land tickets to the historic clash at Wembley Stadium in a raffle. She did, however, have a slight problem in that she was due to work on the day itself. Based in Yorkshire, Farooqi faced a several-hour commute to make it to the national stadium for the match.

Simply put, she couldn't do both. It was either work or attend the match - and Farooqi made the same choice that most England fans would have done in the same situation. She was going to the game!

Believing that she was unlikely to be granted annual leave at such short notice, the 37-year-old opted to contact bosses at Bradford cladding and decking firm Composite Prime to call in sick. In theory, this should have left her free to catch a train down to London and enjoy one of the biggest fixtures in the history of English football.

In practice, the move would ultimately cost her dearly.

The Three Lions got off to a rocky start against the Danes in their quest to reach a first-ever European Championships final, as Mikkel Damsgaard hit a rocket of a free-kick past Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock.

It didn't take Gareth Southgate's men long to respond, though. Nine minutes after going behind they were back on level terms, thanks to an own goal from Simon Kjaer. The majority of the 60,000 fans packed into Wembley erupted when the ball hit the back of the net - including Farooqi.

Why was a woman sacked for attending England vs Denmark?

While wholeheartedly celebrating England's equaliser, Farooqi was caught on camera by the match television director who decided to zoom in on her. With pictures of the semi-final being beamed around the world, she was rumbled.

Not that Farooqi realised it at the time. In fact, when she noticed that she had been captured as part of an Instagram story from television personality Stacey Dooley, she was delighted - reportedly bragging to friends about the newfound 'fame'. 

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On her way back to work the following morning, however, she got a nasty surprise. Her employers - along with much of the rest of the country - had seen Farooqi at the match and quickly figured out that she had pulled a sickie earlier in the day.

Her boss was not amused, phoning to let her know that she was making a wasted journey, as her contract was being terminated. 

Firm director Charles Taylor spoke to The Mail about their decision to sack Farooqi, citing her conduct as a breach of contract.

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"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 July 7.

"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."

Taylor did, though, seek to assure potential customers that his company was fully supportive of the national side's quest for Euro 2020 glory, revealing that it would be allowing all staff to take Monday morning off as annual leave - in anticipation of an England victory.

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Jordan Pickford began his career at which club?

"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!'

To be straight about it, the woman involved here was desperately unlucky. Of the thousands of spectators present on Wednesday evening, she was unfortunate to be picked out by the television cameras.

Honesty, as they say, is usually the best policy. It absolutely would have been in this case.

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