world cup fans england
An England fan reacts as he watches his team lose Reuters

Close to half of UK employees will take some time off during the World Cup, officially or otherwise, to enjoy the competition, a survey has found. The estimated cost to the economy could reach $4bn.

A report from employment law experts ELAS revealed that 43% of the 1,500 employees that were surveyed said that they plan on taking some time off to view the World Cup, currently being held in Brazil.

The report claims that 13% have openly admitted that they will be "throwing a sickie" to watch games.

Overall, ELAS says that the absences over the duration of the World Cup will likely cost the economy £4bn (€5bn, $6.8bn).

Shockingly, the report claims that England's football fans - if there are any left - will be consoling themselves with not only alcohol, but illicit substances as well. It goes on to say that a quarter confessed that they have worked under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"While everyone is naturally disappointed at England's results, being upset over this is not a valid excuse for missing work, or arriving under the influence," said Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at ELAS.

"Businesses may be inadvertently encouraging such behaviour, as many lack well-communicated policies in place covering both absences and drugs/alcohol abuse.

"With modern testing techniques and the ability to have clear, enforceable guidelines, there is absolutely no reason employees should feel they can get away with such practices."