England fan sacked for pulling Euro 2020 sickie gets job as Italy final pundit

An England fan was was sacked after pulling a sickie to watch the Euro 2020 semi-final was been given a new job as a 'pundit'.

Nina Farooqi, 37, a digital content producer from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, called in sick after she was given a last-minute ticket to Wednesday night's match at Wembley.

But she was seen on TV across the world when she was spotted celebrating England's equalising goal in an eventual 2-1 over Denmark.

Composite Prime, her employers, were among the viewers and she was promptly sacked.

Nina didn't spend long unemployed however as Pizza Express called her up to provide commentary during tonight's Euro 2020 final against Italy on their social media channels.

Shadi Halliwell, Chief Customer Officer of Pizza Express, said: "When we saw that avid football fan, Nina, pulled a sickie for the big semi-final she had our complete respect.

"We knew we wanted her as part of our own line-up somehow and that’s when we developed our own ‘Pizza Express Pundit’."

She said Nina would be "running commentary with a difference" for Pizza Express on its social media feeds and encouraged people to follow @pizzaexpress.

Ms Halliwell added: "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."

Ms Farooqi was spotted on TV draped in England fans with her friend as they screamed, put their arms around each other and pumped their fists in the air.

She got a bit of a shock at half-time when she checked her phone to find messages from friends as far as Australia and the US saying they had seen her on TV.

  • Euro 2020: Woman in mixed Italy-England household strictly divides home before final

Nina said: "My phone blew up. The whole world had seen me celebrating. The rational part of me thought, 'oh no, is this going to come back to haunt me?"

When Nina took a 6am train back to West Yorkshire to be on time for work the following morning morning, she received a call telling her to not bother coming in.

he 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."

Nina also works as a freelance photographer and video producer in the men's club game and the Women's Super League.

She said her friends in women's football, in particular, have supported her since she was sacked, and have found new freelance work for her.

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