By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) - Muslim players in the French national football team were allegedly asked to postpone their fasting for a few days in selection during Ramadan.
French sports daily L'Equipe said on March 23 that the France staff allegedly recommended their Muslim players postpone their practice during the five days they spent in selection so that the players' performance would not be affected during their EURO 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands on March 24, and Ireland on March 27.
The same source added that Les Bleus staff would not force anyone in the team not to follow his faith but gave recommendations about this issue.
Ramadan started on March 23 and will continue through April 21-- the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
France, with six points, are with Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Gibraltar in Group B.
On March 24, France hammered the Netherlands 4-0 in their EURO 2024 qualifying Group B opener at Stade de France. A few days later, Les Bleus took a 1-0 win at Ireland to lead Group B.
There have been several Muslim players in the Les Bleus squad for years, such as Zinedine Zidane, Franck Ribery, Nicolas Anelka, Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembele, and N'Golo Kante.
Pogba, Dembele and Kante were active players, but the France trio had injury problems this season.
But Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana, and Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate, the Muslim players in France's team, were selected by Didier Deschamps for the EURO 2024 qualifiers that started last week.
They both played against the Netherlands. Konate was in the starting 11 for the Ireland match, but Fofana was among the substitutes and he did not play in Dublin.