More than half of employers are "panicking" at the financial cost from the distraction to staff caused by the World Cup, according to a report.
Managers are worried that lost production could cost them around £1 billion, as workers follow their team during office hours, a survey of 700 employers by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found.
Employers suspect workers will take unauthorised time off work to watch games, while the majority of managers are concerned "endless" conversations about football could reduce the time employees focus on their jobs.
"It's greatly concerning that so many managers have fears around the World Cup. They clearly feel ill-equipped to develop appropriate strategies to cope with the problems associated with major sporting events," said CMI Chief Executive, Ruth Spellman.
"The fact that more than half of our managers and leaders think that there is nothing they can do to prevent the World Cup from distracting staff or to limit unauthorised absences amplifies the desperate need for improved standards of management and leadership.
"Better trained and qualified managers would be able to see the World Cup as a great opportunity for engagement, and take proactive measures to manage the situation to get the best out of it."
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"We do not have TVs on site and internet access is not allowed to unauthorised sites. A robust but fair internet etc policy helps but we have to be realistic, people are interested in the World Cup – though I do not understand why. A lot of behaviours are copied so it is for partners and other senior staff to make it clear that work is still work. Good working practices and relationships should be capable of getting round this" – Name and address withheld