As the holy month of Ramadan commences, Muslims around the world are celebrating by fasting during daylight hours.
Premier League footballers who follow Islam are no exception, with players like Mohamed Salah and NGolo Kante observing the month-long fast.
To cater to the needs of Muslim players during Ramadan, the Premier League has established guidelines that show solidarity with the players. This includes arranging for iftar during a match so that players can break their fast even while playing.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, which includes abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs. The fast is broken with a meal known as iftar, typically eaten after sunset.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a festival called Eid al-Fitr, which occurs a month after its start.
Muslim players face a unique challenge during Ramadan as they must adhere to a strict diet while preparing for matches.
This includes going without food and drink for more than 12 hours, which can be difficult on a matchday when players are expected to be at their optimal fitness.
To cope with the rigours of professional football during Ramadan, some players start fasting a few days before the start of the month so that their bodies can adapt quickly.
Clubs also work closely with their sports medicine teams to create tailor-made diet charts for each player.
Crystal Palaces head of sports medicine, Dr Zafar Iqbal, explained that players need to focus on optimising their performance, hydration, nutrition, sleep, training, and recovery during Ramadan.
He remains extremely careful to avoid giving players carbohydrate-laden foods while they are breaking their fast.
Wesley Fofana, for example, wakes up before 2:30 am to consume Suhur, the food consumed before daybreak during Ramadan.
Meanwhile, Abdoulaye Doucoure revealed to BBC Sport that he fasts every day without missing any, and he has never had any physical problems.
In conclusion, Premier League footballers who observe Ramadan face unique challenges during the holy month.
However, clubs and their sports medicine teams work together to create tailor-made diet charts for each player to ensure they can maintain their performance while observing the fast.
The Premier Leagues guidelines also help to cater to the needs of Muslim players during Ramadan, including arranging for iftar during a match.