New research predicts that unauthorised staff absences during the World Cup could cost UK businesses more than £13 billion.
A study by Football Tips has found that the average UK football fan plans to take seven days off work during the World Cup - and more than half of these will be unauthorised.
Over 2,000 UK adults were polled for the study, all of whom said they followed football and were planning to watch the World Cup. Over two-thirds (68%) said they had taken time off work to watch the World Cup in 2014 and 41% said they had been previously "told off" for doing so.
Even so, football fans expect to miss seven days' of work on average during the 2018 World Cup; and four of these are likely to be unauthorised "sickies". The findings reveal that the most popular excuses for missing work are: having a doctor's appointment (32%), sickness (20%) and a family emergency (17%).
With 43% of those polled in full-time employment, the study has calculated that over £13 billion could be lost by UK businesses due to football fans skipping work to watch matches.
Tom Rooney, spokesperson for Football Tips, said: "The World Cup is of course a hugely important time for many of us living in the UK, even though England usually do terribly. It is surprising how many people plan to take time off to watch the games, especially as over half of this time is likely to be unauthorised."
Acas has issued guidelines for employers on the 2018 World Cup to help them plan ahead.