An official clarification. The French Football Federation said in an email sent to officials on Thursday (March 30th) that referees are prohibited from interrupting matches to allow Muslim players to break the Ramadan fast. A different attitude from the Premier League (in England) which has authorized this practice.

"It has been brought to the attention of the Federation of match interruptions following the breaking of the fast of Ramadan. These interruptions do not respect the provisions of the statutes of the FFF, "explained the French body in this email sent to its referees, reported several media Friday.

"The idea is that there is a time for everything. A time to play sports, a time to practice one's religion," Eric Borghini, president of the Federal Commission of Referees at the FFF, told AFP.

According to him, the French Football Federation has been informed that "a number of amateur level matches have been stopped to allow players practicing fasting to hydrate" - and this, "without the regulations allowing it", he added, recalling "the scrupulous application of the first article of the statutes of the Federation on the demanding respect of the principle of secularism in football".

Breaks during Premier League matches

In England, a reverse decision has been taken by the refereeing bodies: breaks will be made during Premier League matches to allow Muslim players to break the fast during the month of Ramadan, which began on March 22.

"We are in a secular country, not in a Muslim country," responded Didier Digard, the coach of OGC Nice, asked about it at a press conference on Friday. "We know England, we know they are more open than us on the subject and it always has been. It would be nice if the France did it, but no one bothered if they didn't. Because we are not in a Muslim country. You have to accept the country you live in," he added.

In Nice, many players of Muslim faith do Ramadan and, according to Didier Digard, this is no problem. He also recalled that Nice would only play twice during a fasting period, this Sunday in Angers and April 16 in Brest, two matches scheduled for 15 p.m.

The rest are "matches at 21 p.m., the fast will already be broken," said Didier Digard, referring to the meeting with Paris SG and the two confrontations against Basel in the quarter-finals of the Europa League Conference. "We support them as best we can. We have a high-quality performance division. They are monitored in terms of nutrition and hydration. They do it (fasting, editor's note) out of conviction and it makes things a lot easier," he said.

With AFP

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