Premier League matches to pause for fasting Muslim players during Ramadan… Everton’s game against Tottenham on Monday was stopped in the 26th minute for Ramadan

Tuesday’s Premier League matches will briefly be paused for Muslim players who have been fasting during Ramadan.

If clubs have requested a stoppage before the game, the referee will signal for a break, allowing Muslim players to eat and drink at pitchside.

Everton’s game against Tottenham was stopped in the 26th minute to allow players that had been fasting during the day to take on energy supplements.

Three Muslim players were in action for Sean Dyche’s side at Goodison Park.

Although sunset was before kick-off, allowing players to break their fast, a drinks break was pre-agreed with the referee when both teams – including Toffees trio Abdoulaye Doucoure, Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye – came to the side of the pitch to take on fluids.

Play does not stop while matches are in mid-flow, but at the earliest convenient moment during a goal-kick, free-kick or throw-in.

Teams and match officials will discuss beforehand whether a pause is required and an approximate time for the stoppage will be agreed.

With the 19:45 BST kick-offs on Tuesday coming close to sunset, an agreement might be reached to delay the start by a couple of minutes to allow players to break their fast, which was the case in Friday’s Championship game between Burnley and Sunderland.

In the evening games, Nampalys Mendy could come up against Boubacar Kamara when Leicester host Aston Villa, while Muslim players may also be involved in the Bournemouth v Brighton and Leeds v Nottingham Forest matches.

Chelsea’s game against Liverpool in London kicks off at 20:00, shortly after sunset on Tuesday.

Manchester United v Brentford and West Ham v Newcastle on Wednesday, as well as the meeting between Leeds and Liverpool on 17 April and Arsenal against Southampton four days later are the other top-flight matches that kick off at 20:00 BST this Ramadan.

The Islamic calendar follows the lunar calendar, which means Ramadan starts about 10 days earlier each year. With the holy month now approaching the winter, breaks in play for fasting players will be a regular occurrence in the coming years.

Last month, Toffees midfielder Doucoure told BBC Sport he always “loves” Ramadan, adding: “I fast every day. I don’t miss any days.

“Sometimes playing football has been hard because Ramadan has been in the summer and during pre-season.

“But I have always been lucky to practise Ramadan and there have never been problems with my physical condition – I am grateful for that.”

Nantes player misses game because of fasting

Meanwhile, France’s football federation (FFF) has told referees they must not pause matches to allow Muslim players to break their fast during Ramadan.

“Football does not take into account the political, religious, ideological, or syndical [trade unions] considerations of its actors,” read an email to officials.

“It is up to all of the parties involved to make sure it is respected.”

Nantes defender Jaouen Hadjam was absent for his side’s 3-0 Ligue 1 defeat by Reims on Sunday because he did not want to break the Ramadan fast.

Nantes have six Muslim players observing Ramadan but 20-year-old Algeria international Hadjam is the only one to fast on matchdays.

“It’s his choice, I respect it,” said coach Antoine Kombouare. “But on matchday, you don’t have to fast. It’s very intense, you have to be ready. Those who fast aren’t in the group – I don’t want them to injure themselves.

“In the week, there are no worries for those who fast. I’m ready to support them.” – BBC Football

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