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German footballers may eat during Ramadan: council

Germany's Central Council of Muslims said it was advising Islamic professional football players that they need not fast during Ramadan, ahead of the regular season resuming Friday

AFP, Wednesday 3 Aug 2011
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"The professional player can make up the fasting days during periods when there is no match and in that way show his respect for God and the holy month of Ramadan," council president Aiman Mazyek said in a statement.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Several Bundesliga players are Muslim, including many players of Turkish origin and Bayern Munich's French international Franck Ribery.

A dispute over the issue in Germany began when the second-division team FSV Frankfurt gave three Muslim players an official warning in October 2009 for fasting during Ramadan and failing to inform their managers.

The German Football Federation (DFB) reached an agreement with Muslim leaders on fasting in 2010 allowing players to respect one of the five pillars of Islam while fulfilling their professional obligations.

The council had initiated talks with the country's leading professional football associations last year and sought the advice of Islamic scholars to resolve the issue.

The Al-Azhar University in Cairo concluded that an exception to the strict Ramadan fasting rules could be made for professional players so their performance would not be compromised. 

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