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Footie fans get the World Cup sprit at work

PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:26 01 July 2010

Victoria Leggett

Workers across Norwich have been enjoying the football from behind their desks, on their breaks or standing by the water cooler as the city's employers get behind the World Cup spirit.

Workers across Norwich have been enjoying the football from behind their desks, on their breaks or standing by the water cooler as the city's employers get behind the World Cup spirit.

At the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, every match is being shown on a plasma screen in the staff canteen for workers from a total of 72 different countries. It allows doctors, nurses, catering and office staff to check on the games during their breaks, and spokesman Andrew Stronach admitted there was a bit of “friendly rivalry” during the matches.

At the Virgin Money office, at Whiting Road, Norwich Business Park, workers can keep an eye on the scores at any time thanks to plasma screens dotted around each office. But Jayne Yates, of Virgin Money, said while staff could see the games whenever they wanted, the daytime kick-offs had not been particularly popular, yet. She said: “I'm not much of an authority on football, but I understand the games have been pretty boring so far, so at the moment there is not a huge amount of interest.”

That could all change on Wednesday when England's game with Slovenia kicks off at 3pm, at least two hours before the end of most people's working day.

“I remember several years back when England were playing during the day time, everyone did stop. They were away from their desks a lot and it was an amazing atmosphere,” said the Virgin Money spokesman.

At Aviva, the city's largest employer, staff are able to keep up with the matches on communal screens, generally kept in break areas, or by checking on the internet. Bosses are also encouraging workers, even non-football fans, to embrace the World Cup spirit with a chance to try food from around the world in the company's canteens. Aviva is also looking into adding other TV screens in time for Wednesday's afternoon kick-off.

Spokesman John Franklin said: “We will do our best to be as flexible as possible for those staff keen to watch this game, while of course ensuring the smooth running of the business.”

But staff working for Norwich City Council are missing out with nowhere to watch or listen to the games.

Even a cheeky check on the internet is ruled out because of a firewall set up on council computers.

It is thought it would not be considered “appropriate” for the local authority workers to take time out of dealing with housing queries or planning inquiries to watch the football.

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