Air traffic controllers caught playing footie

Air traffic controllers at a busy airport skipped work to play football, a court heard yesterday.

The 61 staff allegedly got their colleagues to cover for them while they competed in a mini-league against other workers, reports the Daily Mirror.

During that six-month period, there were 45 near misses in the skies above the airport, although officials denied the absenteeism was to blame.

Prosecutors said the controllers were caught after a tip-off from other staff at Linate airport in Milan, which is used by British Airways and budget airline easyJet.

Police took photos of them playing football in 2000 when they should have been busy at their radar screens.

The 61 are all charged with fraud. The Milan trial continues.

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