Tomorrow there is a company football team going to partake in the first part of an industry football competition. I only started this job recently so I put my name forward to be on the team just for the social aspect (not really big fan of football and have incredibly average football ability). The dates for these matches where confirmed a few weeks ago but I only realized today the match clashes with an industry talk. There is a new executive who is joining our company and all staff are invited. The event sounds like a lot of fun and I think there is free beer and food at it as well.

My question is how can I politely cancel my involvement with the company football match in order to attend the event without disappointing my company or team for pulling out?

Additional info/context:

  • free beer

  • I think The team barely has enough people going, think maybe only 1 substitute if that (judging on a team email).

  • The Team has never trained together or done any preparation.

  • If the team are successful tomorrow there will be other matches on other dates, the next date I am away as i am out of the country.

  • I think it could reflect bad on me as the new guy who lets down the team just so I can network with some free beer and food.

  • Would have never put my name forward if I knew this event was going to take place

  • free beer & food

  • That bullet point list might be better as a paragraph mentioning the most important points affecting your decision (e.g. is "free beer" really the critical thing? Or is it the fact that cancelling may reflect badly on you?)
    – Brandin
    Apr 25, 2016 at 11:37
  • 2
    @Brandin since he mentions "free beer" twice in that list I think it's safe to say it's important ;)
    – Nick Zuber
    Apr 25, 2016 at 12:55
  • I would under no circumstances mention the free beer as reason for going. If there is a professional reason why you need to go, then mention that. If it really is about the free beer, then yes you are letting the team down and you should follow through on your current obligation.
    – HLGEM
    Apr 25, 2016 at 18:41
  • If I don't play today the company won't be able to field a team for the match, so with slight regret I'm going to have to miss the industry talk and free beer :( thanks for your answers Apr 26, 2016 at 10:37
  • 1
    Wow, seems like you really don't want to pay for beer! I'd say go to the match, but also go to a supermarket and buy some cheap beer... The money will be a lesson to plan more carefully in future...
    – komodosp
    Apr 26, 2016 at 11:03

2 Answers 2


The best approach would be the honest one. Speak to the team organiser(s) and explain the situation, as soon as you can. The more notice they have, the more time they'll have to make up for your absence.

I can't imagine that you're the only person who's going to miss a session, especially as it doesn't sound like too serious a setup anyway.

Don't worry too much! If you didn't give any notice and then failed to turn up, I could see people being annoyed. But this situation? I think you have a good reason to not go.


The way you phrase it, both the football match and the company event introducing the new exec don't seem to be too serious.

I would say, don't sweat it, just talk to whoever is organizing the football match, and simply ask if they would be ok if you cancel this short-notice. If they won't be, I'd just skip the introduction of the new guy. I think this would be the 'nicest' way of dealing with the situation.

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