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Exclusive: A briefing note sent to government officials today urges them to encourage ministers not to say “It’s Coming Home” when talking about the England football team because it annoys other countries.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport email, seen by PoliticsHome, says the phrase — taken from the Lightning Seeds’ Euro ’96 song “Three Lions” — “does not go down well overseas” and might damage a potential UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
The email reads: “As stressed before, please do encourage your Ministers not to use ‘It’s Coming Home’ with the news media and social media.
“I know we’re swimming against the tide, but we know this does not go down well overseas — and strategically we need to do all we can to make ourselves welcoming to the football authorities when the UK and Ireland is scoping out a bid for the 2030 World Cup.”
A government source did not deny the authenticity of the message, telling PoliticsHome: “We want to give ourselves the best shot of winning 2030.”
The England men’s team will compete in a major final for the first time in 55 years when they take on Italy in the final of the Euros at Wembley on Sunday.
Several government ministers have used the phrase “it’s coming home”, now synonymous with hopes for an England victory, during the competition.
Boris Johnson on Wednesday tweeted “let’s bring it home” after England defeated Denmark to reach the final.
Tonight @England played their hearts out. What a fantastic performance from Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Now to the final. Let’s bring it home 🏴
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 7, 2021
The government is expected to announce a one-off bank holiday later in the summer if England defeat Italy on Sunday, with Monday thought to be soon for a nationwide day-off.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson on Thursday left the door open an additional bank holiday, telling reporters: “I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of Sunday’s match. Clearly we want England to go all the way and win the final, and then we will set out our plans in due course.”
The game kicks off at 8pm and pubs will be allowed to stay open until 11:15pm so fans can continue to watch the game if it goes to extra time and penalties.
Companies are being urged to let workers start later. Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: “Bosses should talk to their staff about flexible working arrangements ahead of Monday morning — perhaps allowing them to start later and claim back their time afterwards.”
The Department for Media, Culture and Sport declined to comment.
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