The Ramadan rule which will impact Premier League players this weekend

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The Premier League have introduced measures to help Muslim players during Ramadan.

The Premier League are putting together special exceptions to make sure Muslim players are able to complete Ramadan.

With the Premier League playing host to a large number of Muslim players, the league’s bosses have decided to put measures in place to make sure religious players can continue their traditions. The measures include games being paused to make sure players can break their fast during the proper times, but it will only be for games at certain times.

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Here we round up all you need to know about the temporary measures, which will likely here to stay at this time of year.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holiest month of the Muslim calendar.

The period is marked by fasting, which is one of the five pilars of Islam. Though, there are a number of other traditions that are also carried out during the month, including giving to charity and others. The month stretches from the evening of Wednesday 22 March, and will finish on the evening of Friday 21 April.

How does Ramadan fasting work?

Most Muslims take part in fasting, with some exceptions, including those with health issues, pregnant or breastfeeding women and menstruating women.

During the period of fasting, Muslims have an early morning meal, before dawn - this is known as suhoor or sehri. They do not eat or drink anything, including water, until they break their fast in the evening. This evening meal is named iftar or fitoor.

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Premier League measures

New Premier League guidance means referees will be allowed to pause games in ‘natural places’ to allow players to break their fast during evening fixtures. During these breaks, players will be given drinking liquids, energy gels or supplaments to ensure players get the fuel they need, given they will have gone hours before eating or drinking anything in the lead up to the game.

Referees have also been asked to identify fasting players before the game to agree on times to stop the game.

The measures were announced prior to the start of the holy month, and games have already been stopped for this reason. Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana tweeted: “Just wanted to thank the @premierleague as well as @CPFC, @vguaita13 all the Foxes for allowing me to break my fast tonight in the middle of the game. That’s what makes football wonderful.”

The Premier League has a large number of Muslim players, including Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Chelsea’s Ngolo Kante.

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Premier League praised

The Premier League, along with the EFL, are among the first leagues in Europe to bring in the measures.

Crystal Palace’s head of sports medicine Dr Zaf Iqbal is among those to praise the measures, telling PA: “There certainly has been a lot more awareness.

Dr Iqbal during his time at LiverpoolDr Iqbal during his time at Liverpool
Dr Iqbal during his time at Liverpool | Liverpool FC via Getty Images

“It’s been excellent to see that managers, coaches and staff are more understanding of others’ beliefs and are accommodating. It can only lead to better understanding, appreciation and harmony within a team.”

Iqbal was key in the introduction of the measures, adding: “It was nice (last season). Before the game myself and the Leicester doctor, Dr Bryan English, were discussing emergency routines and discussed that we had players fasting. We wondered if it would be sensible to ask the referee, Graham Scott, if at an opportune time at sunset whether we could have a break to allow those fasting to have a drink and some food to open their fast.

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“Graham was fine with it as were the managers (Brendan Rodgers and Roy Hodgson). I spoke with the Premier League medical advisor Doctor Mark Gillett and he also didn’t see an issue as we have drinks breaks when it’s very hot. We kept it low-key so that people wouldn’t realise it happened and so couldn’t be accused of disrupting the flow of the game. After the game Wesley tweeted about it and it went global on social media.

“Now the PGMOL and Premier League have allowed a break if requested to quickly open fast in any evening game where the fast needs to be opened.”

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