Football Embraces Religious Observances


Following the Muslim celebration of Eid on Sunday 25th June Mohammed Sahil, a coach in Chelmsford City YFC’s Eastern Junior Alliance set-up, has been explaining the challenges of observing Ramadan whilst playing football.

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is thought to be holy, as it is when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink from the start of sunrise until sunset. Ramadan is based upon the Lunar Calendar, thus meaning it begins earlier by roughly eleven days each year. This year Ramadan started on 26th May and lasted 29 days until Eid.

Many top footballers in the world, including Paul Pogba, Mesut Ozil and Riyad Mahrez observe fasting, but it also affects players right through the football spectrum. Professional clubs often allow them to keep their fast if they think it will not harm their playing performance. It has been known, however, for some footballers to not tell their clubs they are fasting.

“As you can imagine, it can be challenging during these summer months,” Mohammed described. “If someone is sick or travelling, even for a tournament, then they are allowed to make-up their fasts at a later date within the year. It is important to rest but, due to waking prior to sunrise and praying throughout the night, sleep can be limited.”

“Suitable foods to eat during Ramadan are slow-releasing energy foods such as bananas, dates, nuts and porridge. Footballers will occasionally feel under pressure from their managers as they think their performance may be affected by the change in diet or sleeping patterns. Though others do not feel the difference and it is down to their mindset, as with other careers.”

Cindi Chatha, Essex County FA Development Officer, added: “We try to keep in touch with Essex players’ lifestyles. On local levels there may be players who have been taking Ramadan into consideration. This year it has fallen in June when there’s no 11v11 football, though there are still small-sided tournaments which may have needed careful planning. I’d invite people to come to me if they’d like any further information.”

To find out more about religious observances within football, contact Cindi Chatha (Development Officer - Technical Lead Equality & Inclusion) via (01245) 393090 or You can also interact with @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.

Facebook Stream Facebook Stream

Buy Now England vs Slovenia