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Food poisoning likely to be the excuse fans use to explain their absence during World Cup matches

A 'food poisoning' excuse epidemic is set to hit UK workplaces this summer, as staff struggle to come up with reasons to get out of work to watch the World Cup.

Research commissioned by Cisco revealed that 53% of British male workers say their employers have not made provision for staff to watch this summer's football tournament. Consequently, if forced, 12% of working men would use food poisoning or a stomach bug as their excuse to watch the football games at home.

Over one in 10 (11%) British male workers said if they were to use an excuse the reason for calling in sick would be because their companies wouldn't let them watch the football matches in the office.

Of the 1,485 British male workers polled by YouGov, 35% said they would consider rescheduling a meeting at work to watch one of the matches during this summer's football tournament. Just under half (49%) of men from the North West, a third (40%) of Londoners and 32% in the South West would ask a meeting to be rescheduled if it clashed with their football team playing in the quarter finals, semi-finals or finals this summer. And 16% of men from Yorkshire and the Humber would move any meeting that clashed with a match they wanted to watch.

Football fever is strongest in the North, with 24% of working men from the North East and 17% of working men from the North West saying their most likely excuse if they chose to stay at home would be food poisoning or a stomach bug, while men from the South East came in at 11%.

Other popular excuses included 7% of British working men being likely to chose a dental, doctor or physiotherapy appointment as their excuse to stay at home if they were planning to watch the football during working hours this summer 

James Campanini, managing director of Cisco WebEx EMEA, said: "The research highlights the balancing act office managers and business owners need to make - it's about getting the home nations to enjoy this global football event while keeping a productive workforce - by using a high quality collaboration tool this is possible, whether that be working from home or in the office."