- A new charter has been drawn up to encourage support for Muslim sportsmen and women.
- Muslim athletes face unique challenges in sport, such as training and playing during Ramadan.
- Incidents like Paul Pogba having beer placed in front of him at Euro 2020 highlight the need for education.
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A charter described as the “first of its kind” has been launched to ensure the faith of Muslim soccer players and other athletes is respected both on and off the field.
The Muslim Athlete Charter, which was launched by non-profit organization Nujum Sports, aims to challenge organizations in the sporting world and encourage progress in supporting Muslim sportsmen and women.
There are currently 250 Muslim players across the top four leagues of English football, including high profile names like Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, and Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.
The charter includes elements such as ensuring Muslim players have appropriate places to pray, making sure that Muslim athletes are allowed to fast without judgment or impediment during Ramadan, and informing non-Muslim players that alcohol is forbidden in Islam.
Other elements of the charter include the provision of Halal food and Muslim players being allowed to attend midday prayers on Fridays.
Five English Premier League teams have already signed up to support the charter.
-Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) June 25, 2021
Ebadur Rahman, founder and chief executive of Nujum Sports pointed towards France’s Pogba removing a Heineken bottle during his Euro 2020 press conference as highlighting “the need for education.”
He told the BBC: “Having worked in sport, I am well aware of the difficulties of being able to practice my religion.
In another incident in recent months which highlighted the unique challenges faced by Muslim athletes, a Premier League game was halted to allow Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana, who is Muslim, to break his Ramadan fast.
“After speaking extensively to athletes and clubs, we felt it was the right time to have a Muslim athlete charter in place in the UK. We believe it is the first and only one of its kind, Rahman continued.
“Clubs and organizations are joining a positive movement of solidarity, equality and recognition of the contribution Muslims make at their respective clubs and teams.”
The announcement of the Muslim Athlete Charter comes a day after the Daily Telegraph reported that, in light of Paul Pogba’s Heineken incident, UEFA plans on taking steps to ensure that its products, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, aren’t placed in front of Muslim players at future Euro 2020 press conferences.