With the football season in full swing fans are going through their work roster to ensure that when the whistle is blown they are in front of a television and not their office computer or cash register.

The team spirit brought about by the Euro 2012 games is spreading into workplaces where people are taking over evening shifts from their football-loving colleagues.

This is especially the case in shops, which close at about 7 p.m. – too late for fans to make the 6 p.m. matches, like yesterday’s much anticipated England vs France opening match.

“I will remain in the shop till 7 p.m. but my colleague, who loves football, booked leave,” said Felix Rizzo, who works at Kingsway Store, a toyshop in Valletta. Similarly Edward Chatlani, who owns bag and shoe shop Ganesh, yesterday headed home earlier than usual. He left the shop in the hands of his salesgirl who is not interested in football.

“I don’t like football. Usually, I work half day and he stays on till 7 p.m. But today (yesterday) I work the evening shift so that he could go watch the match,” the salesgirl said.

This also seems to be the pattern at Darmanin shoe shop where those staff members who do not like football will step in for their footie-loving colleagues.

“We don’t close early since we have to ensure clients are still given the service… However, those who like football, like me, leave earlier,” Austin Darmanin said.

An Englishman who works in a business based in Valletta usually clocks off at 7 p.m. But yesterday he made arrangements to leave at 5.30 p.m. to join his English friends at a Sliema bar.

“We want to see our national team beat France 3-0,” he smiled.

Then there are those who like football but not enough to interrupt their business routine.

Vinnie Grima, from the mobile phone shop Cellphone, enjoys watching a match and sides with England. But yesterday he chose to stay at the shop and, maybe, peek at the score from a bar across the road.

On the other hand, Joseph Caruana, from N. Caruana and Sons household shop, closed early yesterday. He watched the first half of the match from a Valletta bar and headed home during half-time to see the end.

“I can close as it’s my business… I love football so I close,” he said.

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