England fan sacked for throwing sickie to watch Euro 2020 match 'lands job' at Pizza Express for final

AN ENGLAND fan who was sacked for throwing a sickie so she could go to the Euro 2020 semi-finals has been offered a new job – as a football pundit for Pizza Express.

Nina Farooqi, 37, lost her job after she was caught on camera celebrating Harry Kane's winning goal during England's victory over Denmark.

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The digital content producer told the fib after her friend won last-minute tickets in a ballot, seeing her sat right behind the goal for the magical moment.

But Nina was struck off by composite decking company Composite Prime for skiving off after being plastered over TV's around the world – but Pizza Express have now given the football fan a new opportunity.

The UK restaurant group has recruited her to provide commentary on their social media channels through tonight's historic game against Italy.

Nina, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, will deliver a "running commentary with a difference," according to Chief Customer Officer Shadi Halliwell.

"When we saw that avid football fan, Nina, pulled a sickie for the big semi-final she had our complete respect," she said.

"We knew we wanted her to be part of our own line-up somehow and that’s when we developed our own ‘PizzaExpress Pundit’.

"We were the only high-street restaurant that was around to witness the World Cup in 1966 so we know what it feels like when football comes home, and we couldn’t be prouder of our lads.

"So, stay tuned to our social feeds @pizzaexpress this evening for more when Nina will be running commentary with a difference along with a Dough Ball or two. Come on England!"

The freelance sport photographer and video producer raced back to West Yorkshire on a 6am train after attending the semi's – but her boss told her not to bother coming in.

Nina said, "They said they’d seen I’d been at the game, and I was honest about why I did it. But I didn’t get any sympathy at all and they said that's it.

"That’s their call and the consequence of what I did.

"There is a bit of regret, no one wants to get fired, but then also I would have hated the regret of missing out. I’d do it all over again."

Charles Taylor, director at Composite Prime said, "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," he said.

"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!"

As well as her Pizza Express gig, the nimble Nina has also found some freelance work thanks to her pals in the Women's Super League.

She earlier defended her decision to bunk off work, saying: "This hasn’t come around since 1996, I vividly remember crying on my mum's sofa when Gareth Southgate missed his penalty, and the football fan in me just couldn’t do it.

"Football is my life." 

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