Euro 2020: PM praises England ahead of final
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Tens of millions of football fans are gearing up for a party ahead of England’s clash against Italy in the final. And “It’s staying home…” could be the motto for most of us if the Three Lions triumph. Calls for ministers to make Monday a Bank Holiday are building, with a petition attracting 320,000 signatures. With government blessing, pubs will be open until 11.15pm in case of extra-time for the match – England’s biggest for 55 years.
No 10 hinted at a Bank Holiday to celebrate if England win, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also backing the plan.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman refused to jinx the showdown with Italy by announcing how the country would celebrate, but made clear the issue is being considered. The extra day off could happen later in July or August, it was said.
Schools are also getting into the party spirit of Euro 2020, with some allowing pupils a lie-in on Monday following the final.
Children at a number of schools yesterday were permitted to wear football shirts, or the colours of their team, ahead of the showdown at Wembley tomorrow.
But calls are growing for a Bank Holiday to officially be called on Monday if the Three Lions secure an historic win. Along with the official petition, there are also pleas for bosses to discuss flexible working arrangements with employees to allow them to start later.
The petition, published on the Government’s website, said: “England may be playing a European Championship Final on Sunday.
“It would be beneficial and sensible to give the country the day off the next day if England win, in the form of an extra Bank Holiday.” And after reaching more than 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
While it is unlikely there would be time to call an official Bank Holiday, ministers and senior government officials have been discussing potential celebrations if England do triumph.
And some are said to think a national holiday is the best idea due to the prospect of not much work being done on Monday.
Regarding Bank Holidays, Parliament’s website states: “By convention, the Queen acts on the advice of ministers.
“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the Government department responsible for Bank Holidays.”
In the absence of a holiday, there have been calls for employers – already expecting a flood of sick calls on Monday morning – to be flexible.
Marcus Beaver, head of human resources experts Alight Solutions, said: “It’s a huge moment, the likes of which has not been witnessed since 1966.
“So much so that millions of employees are expected to call in sick come Monday morning – whoever takes home the trophy.
“Employers, now is the time to stop talking about employee well-being and actually do it.
“An 11am Monday morning start rather than the usual 9am would help ease sore heads for the estimated 30 million people that will be tuning in on Sunday.
“Employees have had a tumultuous year and a half and the gesture would do wonders for employee engagement.
“After all, there is no illness quite like that of a hangover.”
Meanwhile, a number of schools have said they will allow pupils to start later on Monday if they want to. Many have told parents that children will not be marked as late if they are in by 10.30am.
Pubs and bars across the country, some with outdoor big screens, were yesterday busily preparing for a huge national party.
In venues and fan zones everywhere, supporters are expected to down an estimated 10 million pints of beer during the match – with another 30 million consumed by those watching at home.
The England team was yesterday back in training ahead of the match. And defender Kyle Walker issued a rallying cry for victory.
He said: “It’s going to be a very tough game. But I think we’ve created history.
“I’ve heard a lot of people talk about, ‘England haven’t got this, England haven’t got that.’
“But this group of lads, with the manager and the coaching staff, we just keep knocking down walls. We’ve set the bar now.”
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