PSG fans slam French football body for refusing to pause matches during Ramadan

PSG fans slam French football body for refusing to pause matches during Ramadan

'A date, a glass of water, the nightmare of the FFF,' says Paris Saint-Germain fan group’s banner at Parc des Princes

By Can Erozden

ANKARA (AA) - Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fans have denounced the French Football Federation (FFF) for refusing to pause evening matches during the holy month of Ramadan so that Muslim players can break their fast.

The federation cited the principal of “football neutrality at the places of practice” as the reason.

"A date, a glass of water, the nightmare of the FFF," a banner of Collectif Ultras Paris, a PSG fan group sitting behind the goal at the Parc des Princes, said in criticism of the federation’s decision.

French Ligue 1 leaders PSG were stunned by mid-table Olympique Lyon 1-0 in a week 29 match in Paris.

In respect for French secularism, the FFF last week reportedly sent an e-mail to the Federal Commission of Referees (CFA) banning interruptions during football matches for Muslim players to let them break their fast.

The leaked e-mail also said that anyone violating the provisions would be subject to disciplinary and/or criminal proceedings.

A 1905 law in France formalized the separation of Church and State.

Unlike the French Ligue 1, the English Premier League announced last week that players are allowed to break their fast mid-match during the Muslim fasting month.

- Nantes player removed from match squad for fasting

Jaouen Hadjam, a 20-year-old Nantes defender, was removed from the match squad by the senior team's head coach Antoine Kombouare for fasting on match days during Ramadan.

On the absence of Algerian-French player Hadjam, Kombouare said that players "should not fast" to be match fit and to avoid getting hurt during games.

"And those who fast are not in the group," he said as he did not select Hadjam for the Reims match.

On Sunday, Nantes without Hadjam suffered a 3-0 home loss to Reims in a French Ligue 1 match at Stade De La Beaujoire.

Ramadan began on March 23 and will continue through April 21-- the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

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