England’s Premier League and English Football League (EFL) match officials have been told by refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) to pause play so Muslim players can break their fast during the month of Ramadan, which is set to commence tomorrow.
According to Reuters, match officials have been issued guidance so players can observe iftar by taking liquids, energy gels or supplements on the touchline during a natural pause in play in evening fixtures.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez are among players who are expected to abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.
Last year a match between Burnley and Southampton was paused in the first half to allow Southampton’s players to break their fast in Ramadan and in 2021, a game between Leicester and Crystal Palace was paused to allow Wesley Fofana and Cheikhou Kouyate to break their fasts after sunset, which was a Premier League first.
In 2018, an Egyptian Salafi preacher, Yasser Borhamy, said that according to Islamic rulings, Muslim footballers may not break their fast mid-game, as football as a sport does not fall into the category of hard work, which allows Muslims to break their fast.
On Sunday 26 March, London club Chelsea FC will be hosting an “Open Iftar” at the side of the pitch at Stamford Bridge, in what will be a first for the club and a Premier League stadium.