Premier League to introduce breaks for Muslim players to break Ramadan fasts in upcoming fixtures

Referees across the Premier League and Football League have been asked to pause fixtures to give players special breaks to take on energy during the Islam period of Ramadan, it has been reported.

Sky Sports detail that officials have been issued with guidance from refereeing bodies to allow for natural pauses in play during evening matches, which enable players to break their fast to take on food and drink.

The Ramadan period, which is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, begins on March 22 (tomorrow) and continues until April 21, with that month-long spell coinciding with a congested fixture schedule in the Premier League and across Europe.

Muslims observing the period of self-reflection will take part in a fast, abstaining from eating and drinking during daylight hours, which means they must break the fast after sunset.

The same report states that officials will be encouraged to identify any players, ahead of kick-off, who may need to break their fast during the game, and where the possible pause in play might take place.

In 2021, referee Graham Scott paused Leicester’s clash with Crystal Palace to allow Wesley Fofana and Cheikhou Kouyate to break their Ramadan fast.

Fofana tweeted afterwards to say: “Just wanted to thank the Premier League [sic] as well as Crystal Palace [sic] [and] all the Foxes for allowing me to break my fast tonight in the middle of the game. That’s what makes football wonderful.”

The move is being lauded as a big step forward in terms of the recognition of other faiths and cultures in English football.

The Football Association and PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Ltd) have not yet commented on the report.

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