Speed Reads

World Cup update

Chinese soccer fans are buying sick notes so they can watch World Cup games live

The World Cup hasn't even started yet and people in China are already sick of it — sort of.

Soccer fans are paying as much as $50 for a pack of paper that contains a hospital stamp and a "convincing diagnostic scrawl from a doctor" so they can use the time-tested sick leave excuse to watch the games. Feigning a cold might not be the silliest idea, since the games are scheduled to air between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. local thanks to the time difference.

Since selling forged doctor's notes is illegal, e-commerce sites are listing the pads under different names, like "proof of diagnosis note." A person told a Chinese media outlet that the hefty price is worth it because it's more fun to watch the game live.

"Recordings of matches are meaningless, only live broadcasts are fun," he said. "If I stay up all night to watch the games, I will be so sleepy the next day and my boss will scold me."