All Muslims observing Ramadan must abstain from food and drink—including water—from dawn to dusk for 30 days. Fasting is no doubt taxing on the body, and for professional athletes without proper nutrition or hydration, the holy month is an added performance challenge. In a bid to show their compassion for their Muslim teammates, English soccer players for Crystal Palace and Leicester City Premier League paused their match on Monday night so that two players could break their fast.
After dusk, Muslims typically break their fast with iftar, an evening meal with water or milk. Although the soccer players didn't have time for a full meal, they were still able to quench their thirst and consume a few calories. Shortly after sundown—during the 35th minute of the game—Crystal Palace's goalkeeper Vicente Guaita held back from making a goal kick so that the Muslim players on both teams could take a break. This allowed Leicester City’s center-back Wesley Fofana and Palace’s midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to briefly enjoy some water and energy gel.
Last week, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers took Fofana out of the game at the 60-minute mark to allow him to break his fast. However, Monday night’s game was the first time a Premier League match was paused during Ramadan so that all Muslim players could have a drink. The decision was made before the game during a meeting between the two team captains. The heartwarming display of sportsmanship is a reminder to respect the faith and cultures of others. Fofana thanked the opposing club for its support on Twitter by writing, “That’s what makes football wonderful.”
This year, Ramadan runs from April 12 until May 12.
English soccer teams Crystal Palace and Leicester City paused their match to allow Muslim players to break their Ramadan fasts.
حكم مباراة ليستر سيتي × كريستال بالاس يوقف المباراة لـ يفطر لاعب ليستر الصايم 👏🏻❤️
— أثر عمار الدار يا سعود أهلها (@ShanaFraser1) April 26, 2021
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 🙏🏾✊🏾#WF3 #PourEux pic.twitter.com/d56o8A8ZGo
— LAWESTT (@Wesley_Fofanaa) April 26, 2021