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Commonwealth Games 2002

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  Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
England firm's sick joke
Umbro is accused of being irrepsonsible
England kit maker Umbro has been accused of scoring an own goal by publishing a fake World Cup sick note on its website.

The firm encourages fans to 'bunk off' whenever England are playing, providing dates for all their games.

Workers who want to pull a 'sickie' are invited to print off a form, which includes an NHS stamp and fake doctor's signature, and fill in their details.

Fake sick note
Sick note includes fake doctor's signature

But the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has failed to see the funny side.

Policy director Louise Beard insisted Umbro was behaving irresponsibly.

She added: "Any employee who gets found out will be sacked.

"It is a fraudulent act against the employer and the state."

The sick note appears on a section of the Umbro site called 'Bunk off'.


Other features include a holiday form geared around World Cup matches and a list of excuses you can give for having the day off.

Umbro marketing manager Eddie May told BBC Radio Five Live it was only meant as a bit of harmless fun.

"It's a bit of tongue-in-cheek to make people aware that the kick-off times are going to be difficult," he stressed.

"We don't expect anyone to seriously use this form, although it is quite realistic.

"We're looking at ways to amend it so it is more obviously a joke because we don't want anyone to get into trouble.

Darren Anderton
The original Sicknote

"We're not encouraging people to seriously skip work without permission."

Nevertheless, there will almost certainly be an outbreak of 'skiveritis' across the country come June.

Fortunately for employers, there is one consolation.

The way England's build-up has gone so far, it's unlikely they will be troubling the TV cameras beyond 12 June.

Eddie May, Umbro
"We don't expect anyone to seriously use this form"
See also:

14 May 02 |  England
Gerrard ruled out of World Cup
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