Some bosses and schools grant free lie-ins as England face Euros showdown

·4-min read
Fans in Manchester celebrate England qualifying for the Euro 2020 final (PA Wire)
Fans in Manchester celebrate England qualifying for the Euro 2020 final (PA Wire)

People young and old across England may have a delayed start to their week should the national men’s football team triumph at Euro 2020 this weekend.

Employers and school heads are considering allowing staff and pupils, respectively, to enjoy a lie-in on Monday due to the Three Lions’ participation in the European Championship final against Italy on Sunday night.

Victory at Wembley would mark the men’s football team’s first major tournament win since the 1966 World Cup.

England v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium (PA Wire)
England v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium (PA Wire)

It comes as momentum for a national day off in the event of glory continues to grow – though police have warned fans not to get carried away by the occasion.

The mechanics for a bank holiday this Monday seem unworkable, given the short turnaround between the final ending late on Sunday night and when the day off would come into effect, potentially an hour later.

Instead, businesses may consider flexible working hours in order to allow staff to sleep off any celebratory or consolatory side effects.

Fans watching England v Denmark (PA Wire)
Fans watching England v Denmark (PA Wire)

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC (Trades Union Congress), said: “Bosses should talk to their staff about flexible working arrangements ahead of Monday morning – perhaps allowing them to start later and claim back their time afterwards.

“And bosses should show flexibility too towards the 2.2 million workers who work on a Sunday – many of them key workers.

“Many of them will want to watch the match, and they should be able to, either at work or by finishing early and making up the time.”

England v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium (PA Wire)
England v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium (PA Wire)

A number of schools have already said they will allow pupils to start later on Monday if they want to.

Gemma Donnelly, head of Braywick Court School in Bray, Berkshire, has told parents that children will not be marked as late if they are in by 10.30am.

In a letter to families, seen by PA, Mrs Donnelly said: “This gives you the option to stay up late and watch the match, or watch it in the morning before coming to school if you would like to.”

Other schools have signalled a similar relaxation of normal rules.

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The final is due to kick off at Wembley at 8pm and will finish by 10pm if it ends in normal time.

However, if it goes to extra time or a penalty shootout, the game would conclude closer to 11pm.

Any trophy presentation for the Three Lions would likely delay bedtimes even further.

Wednesday’s semi-final victory over Denmark which went to extra time but not penalties, finished at around 10.45pm.

Fans watching England v Denmark (PA Wire)
Fans watching England v Denmark (PA Wire)

Retail giant Co-op said it would close its food stores at 7.45pm on Sunday to allow staff to watch the match, while fellow high street brand Lidl said its shops would open an hour later than normal on Monday morning, should England win.

Downing Street said employers who are able to should be flexible about allowing staff to go into work late on Monday or take the day off if England win.

The number of signatures calling for a bank holiday to celebrate an England win passed the 300,000 mark on Friday morning, although it was reported that ministers are considering scheduling the day off for August when coronavirus rules are relaxed.

Downing Street remained coy on the prospects of a bank holiday – either on Monday or a later date – if England do triumph.

A No 10 spokesman said: “We don’t want to pre-empt the result and tempt fate. We would obviously set out any plans, if necessary, in due course. Let’s see what happens on Sunday.”

The order for any bank holiday would have to come from the Queen.

Fans watching England v Denmark (PA Wire)
Fans watching England v Denmark (PA Wire)

The British Beer and Pub Association reckons nearly 13 million pints could be bought on Sunday.

It estimated 7.1 million of those would be sold within the course of the game itself if it ends within normal time – equating to almost 1,000 pints a second.

The Home Office confirmed on Friday that pubs can continue to serve until 11.15pm on Sunday to reduce the risk of customers being told to leave before the match ends.

There were boisterous scenes across some of England’s biggest cities on Wednesday night, as supporters celebrated the semi-final victory long into the night.

Fans let off flares as they celebrate in Piccadilly Circus, central London, on Wednesday (PA Wire)
Fans let off flares as they celebrate in Piccadilly Circus, central London, on Wednesday (PA Wire)

But police urged for people to respect coronavirus restrictions.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “I think the big challenge has been large numbers of people gathering in breach of Covid regulations.

“On occasion behaviour going a little bit beyond what would be reasonable.

“Wednesday was busy, lots of people around, lots of excitement, we fully anticipate Sunday to be even busier.”

It comes as a survey of 1,794 adults in the UK by Opinium suggested England manager Gareth Southgate is more popular than war-time prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

The poll, conducted in the wake of England’s semi-final win, found 72% of those asked had a “favourable” view of Southgate, compared with 65% for Churchill. Both lagged behind broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough (83%) and the Queen (75%).

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