Premier League accommodate Ramadan for Muslim players

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, preparations are underway to accommodate Muslim players in the Premier League and EFL. Referees have reportedly been asked to pause evening games during the period to allow players to break their fast, which involves abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a period of spiritual reflection and fasting that involves abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours. The holy month is set to begin on Wednesday and will run until the evening of Friday, April 21.

During this time, Muslim footballers will need to take on liquids, energy gels, and supplements to maintain their energy levels and stay hydrated.

Past Occurrences of Paused Matches

This is not a new practice, as games have been paused in the past for players to take on liquids and energy supplements. Last season, Burnley’s game against Southampton was halted in the 41st minute to allow players to refuel, and Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana was allowed to break his fast during a game against Crystal Palace.

The Bundesliga also stopped a game for the first time last season to allow Mainz’s Moussa Niakhate to break his fast. These practices show the importance of respecting religious observances and accommodating diverse needs in sports.

Two years ago, Leicester City’s match with Crystal Palace was paused mid-game to allow players to break their fast, in what is believed to have been a Premier League first. Both clubs agreed with the referee before the match that there would be a pause in play to allow Wesley Fofana and Cheikhou Kouyate to break their Ramadan fast.


Vicente Guiata, the Palace goalkeeper, delayed taking a goal kick just after the half-hour mark to allow Fofana and Kouyate to take energy gels at the side of the pitch. Fofana later took to social media to thank Guiata, Palace, and the Premier League for allowing him to break his fast, adding: “That’s what makes football wonderful.”

What to Expect with the Observation of Ramadan 

In this year’s Premier League, several high-profile Muslim players will observe Ramadan, including Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante. Last season, a match between Leicester City and Crystal Palace was halted in the 30th minute to allow Wesley Fofana and Cheikhou Kouyate to break their fast.

The football authorities have issued guidance to match officials to allow for a natural pause in play to enable players to break their fast. In fact, officials have even been encouraged to identify any players who may need to break their fast during the game and agree on a rough time for this to happen before kick-off.

Previously, the Premier League allowed games to be stopped if a team requests it in advance.

The first match where this could apply is likely to be the clash between Leeds and Liverpool at Elland Road on Monday, April 17. Sunset in Yorkshire city is scheduled for 8:10 pm, ten minutes after kick-off, with Salah among the players who could feature in the match.

A break in play may also occur in Arsenal’s home match with Southampton four days later. The game on Friday, April 21, the last day of Ramadan, kicks off at 8 pm, and the sun is due to set in London at 8:06 pm.


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