Cut football supporters some slack

20:02, Jul 08 2014
Flavio Campos
JUGGLING WORK AND PLAY: Brazilian Flavio Campos runs foot-volley classes at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington. He and his friends have managed to fit watching World Cup matches in around their work, he says.

Employers are being encouraged to be patient with football-focused workers as the Fifa World Cup semifinals bite into working hours today and tomorrow.

World Cup fever may have its biggest workplace impact so far during this morning's Brazil-Germany match and tomorrow's Netherlands-Argentina encounter, with their 8am kick-offs.

Most of the tournament's 60 games so far have been on weekends or earlier in the mornings, or been games of lesser stature.

But as the global event reaches its climax Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Bleakley called on bosses to cut staff some slack.

"Some people are ferociously passionate about this sport and where employers can be reasonable and allow staff to enjoy the event rather than being heavy-handed I'd hope they do."

Many employers were even using the event as a team-building opportunity, she said.


"We're aware that people have been watching matches at home and going in to work late, or watching it in staff rooms or on their computers at work. Employers have a range of options."

Some employers have found employees more available than ever during the Cup.

"There are a few screens around here with the beautiful game on, so if anything we've seen people turning up ridiculously early to keep an eye on the games," Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said.

Wellington-based Brazilian Flavio Campos is uniquely placed to not only avoid any negative effects of football fever, but to profit from it - he teaches foot-volley, a Brazilian offshoot of the global game.

He said Brazilians he knew had found a way to fit football around work. "They are organising themselves to work an hour before or after to watch the games - they have to compensate."

Brazil-born Victoria University building science programme director Fabricio Chicca has bravely battled through fatigue to watch nearly every match.

"My nights have been kind of a nightmare."

Ministry of Social Development project manager Leandro Cavalcanti said he would take annual leave if Brazil made the final.

"I don't think I'll be much use if we win or if we lose."

Brazilian ambassador to New Zealand Eduardo Gradilone said his country stood still for its team.

"Basically, when Brazil is playing, forget about everything else."

The World Cup represented extra work at the embassy, which opened earlier to screen matches.

The Brazilian and German ambassadors and their respective staffs planned to watch this morning's match together over breakfast at the Brazilian embassy.

But not all Brazilians are losing sleep or work hours over football.

Wellington's Reel Brazil Film Festival manager Paula Barletto Andrade said she was boycotting the tournament because politicians were using it to disguise the country's problems, the subject of protests before the event.

"A month before I was in a protest about corruption and now it's just like, fine? It's still the same situation . . . it's the truth, it's not all flowers."

The Dominion Post