Ramadan: Match officials requested to pause games to allow Muslim players break their fast

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Muslim footballers would be handed the opportunity to break their fasts with liquids, energy gels and supplements throughout stipulated breakage of action in the Premier League and EFL in the month of Ramadan. 

The month of Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar, and it is a period of fasting, prayer and retrospection observed by Muslims across the globe. 

Iftar, or the period of breaking the fast occurs during sunset, and it is customarily a family or community gathering. 

Several footballers across English Football observe the Islamic holy month, and matches in the evening hampers their ability to break their fasts while the sun is setting. 

N'Golo and Mohammed Salah are players amongst Muslim footballers in the Premier League
N’Golo and Mohammed Salah are popular players amongst other Muslim footballers in the Premier League

Some Muslim footballers who are expected to observe the holy month

High profile Premier League footballers, including Chelsea’s winger Hakim Ziych alongside Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah and Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City are expected to stay clear of eating or drinking during daylight periods in the course of the holy month. 

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Match officials have been provided with the instruction by Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) to permit Muslim footballers the opportunity to break their fasts when there is a natural breakage of play during Iftar. 

Before the commencement of various matches, match officials assigned for the game would be urged to note any players who might need to break their fasts during the encounter. 

The month of Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and several Muslim footballers observe the holy month
Premier League ball

If viable as well, they might need to come to an agreement with the players on a possible time for the break to occur. 

Ramadan is a time of conducting well meaning acts and joint prayers by Muslim faithfuls across the globe and this year’s Ramadan would begin on the 22nd of March and end on the 21st of April, also depending on when the moon is sighted. 

Pausing play to allow for players to break their fast during games is a recent inclusion to the round leather game called football. 

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The Foxes encounter against Crystal Palace in April 2021 was the first instance a Premier League game was interrupted for Iftar. 

Former Leicester City defender, Wesley Fofana and Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate halted their fast mid-game to munch in energy gels from the sidelines.

Wesley Fofana thanks the English Premier League for their gesture

After the encounter, Wesley Fofana appreciated the English Premier League alongside Eagles goalie Vincente Guaita, who took time before playing his goal kick to permit the pause, for their own wellbeing. 

During the 2021/22 German Bundesliga season, center referee Matthias Jollenbeck interrupted play for a short period of time during the second 45. 

He did so in order to enable Mainz center-back Moussa Niakhate to break his fast by drinking some water and afterwards Niakhate appreciated the referee for an incident that happened for the first time in the Bundesliga. 

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The decision taken by the Premier League and EFL officials to permit Muslim footballers break their fast during games is very laudable as it serves as a wonderful precedent for other sports to follow. 

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