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British football clubs to provide prayer rooms for fans

The clubs are welcoming their Muslim supporters

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 10 Sep 2015
Two Muslims praying during a Liverpool's FA Cup game last season (Photo: Twitter user @stedoddnew)
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Views: 2539

After an increase in the number of Muslims attending English Premier League matches to support their teams, clubs have decided to welcome them by providing dedicated multi-faith prayer rooms.

Teams from across the Football League want to make it clear that all are welcome.

Clubs are also keen to meet the needs of Muslim employees including players like Mesut Özil, Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri to name a few.

Liverpool have confirmed that from 2016 a prayer room will be available at Anfield, according to British newspaper The Guardian.

"Liverpool FC confirmed when it announced its plans in December 2014 to expand the main stand at Anfield Stadium that it will include a multi-faith room," a Liverpool spokeswoman told The Guardian.

"The room will be accessible from the ground floor of the expanded main stand and people of all faiths will be welcome to use it," the statement added.

There are five obligatory daily Muslim prayers; Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha.

Zuhr, Asr and Maghrib prayers often coincide with football matches.

The images of two Liverpool fans, solicitors Asif Bodi and Abubakar Bhula, praying at Anfield caused a storm on Twitter. Liverpool defended their action and reiterated their welcome for all fans whatever their religious backgrounds are.

"It was Asr time, we went downstairs and asked the stewards if we could pray by the stairwell," Bodi told the Guardian.

"They provided us with the mats, it’s a common practice. The positive feedback was reassuring, and it’d be nice if something positive also came out of it," he said.

Other Premier League teams Newcastle, Sunderland, Swansea City and the promoted sides of Bournemouth, Norwich City and Watford confirmed they would be happy to accommodate fans should match day prayer requests be made.

Tottenham are also aiming to provide a prayer room in their new stadium.

"We currently have a private area available should we receive any requests from staff or supporters for a quiet space to pray," a spokesman said.

"This has also been taken into consideration with the designs of our new stadium, where there will be a dedicated faith room."

The English Football Association (FA) is working to meet the needs of fans and visitors to retain the huge audience Premier League games get.

"Wembley Stadium and St George’s Park have on-site multi-faith prayer rooms for fans and visitors," an FA spokesman told The Guardian.

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