French Football Federation Prohibits Ramadan Pauses

A Surprising Announcement Leads to Outrage by Many

French Football
Federation logo taken
from Logowik.

French Football Federation logo taken from Logowik.

This past March, the French Football Federation (FFF) announced that they would be prohibiting the allowance of pausing matches for Ramadan in order for Muslim players to break their fast.


An email was sent out by the Federal Commission of Referees much to the public’s shock and disappointment since it continued to support the new rules that would go against players’ religion.


Members of the Islamic faith are currently going through the season of Ramadan which requires them to abstain from eating from sunrise to sunset. This season started on the evening of March 22 and ends on the evening of April 20.


The email mentioned the charter of ethics of football which emphasizes that “a football field, or any sporting venue” are not places to exercise “political and religious expressions”, but rather places where “neutrality, secularism and non-discrimination” must be implemented, according to The New Arab.


The FFF also stated that there would be disciplinary consequences if referees and players did not comply with the email’s new rules. This was brought to the attention of the FFF when they realized matches were being stopped for the breaking of the Ramadan fast.


Naturally, this news has been criticized by athletes and activists all over the world since the choice can easily be interpreted as an act of intolerance and against the values of Muslim football players.


Muslim players on the French national team had been asked to postpone their fasting practices during France’s Euro 2024 Qualifiers against the Netherlands on the 24th of March and Ireland on March 27th. This was done to ensure that the performance of the team would not be affected. Even though France won both matches, players were visibly upset by the announcement.


It’s especially surprising since other leagues such as the English Premier League require referees to pause matches so players can keep themselves healthy and hydrated. Before a match, officials are asked to identify the players who are going to be fasting and find a way where players are able to break their fast in a way of respect. Why France decided against doing this is a move many people are still confused by.


The French Football Federation is still holding true to their decision to prevent stopping matches but it’s only a matter of time to see if it will become permanent or if activism will force the organization to come to their senses and support their players in the right way.