Featured Matches
Previous
Seattle Sounders FC
Los Angeles
ESPN2 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Richmond Kickers
Crystal Palace
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Manchester United
Internazionale
Jul 29, 2014 11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
Jul 29, 2014 1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Norwich City
Nice
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Richmond Kickers
Crystal Palace
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brøndby
Silkeborg IF
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AIK
Falkenbergs FF
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
BK Hacken
Djurgarden
5:05 PM GMT
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
Los Angeles
ESPN2 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tigre
All Boys
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Belgrano de Córdoba
Independiente
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
 Posted by Stephan Uersfeld
Jun 30, 2014

Players take Ramadan travelling exemption

ESPN FC's Gustavo Hofman discusses Joachim Low's options for his starting XI against Algeria.

Muslim footballers including Mesut Ozil, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami will not observe Ramadan due to their participation in the 2014 World Cup.

The issue is also being given consideration by members of Algeria's squad, the last Muslim country in the competition, ahead of their round of 16 game against Germany on Monday, while there are also Muslim players in the squads of France and Nigeria.

Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn until sunset, began on Sunday and is obligatory for all Muslims. However, exceptions are made for those who are travelling, pregnant or suffering from an illness.

At a prematch news conference on Sunday, Algeria's Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic reacted angrily when asked about the situation.

He said: "This is a private matter and when you ask this you lack respect and ethics. The players will do as they wish and I would like to stop this controversy.

"Ramadan is here and I read in some Algerian newspapers criticisms about me, about my image, about my honour.

"They are trying to raise hatred against Vahid, against my family, and this is really disgusting.

"It is not the first time I have Muslim players in my team, I myself am a Muslim, and I've always left them totally free. This is a private issue -- it has to do with private freedom of expression.

"Those who continue criticising our team and my actions, I think it's shameful. But I will continue [as coach], I will continue working with this team. I'm sorry that you continue criticising what I do.

"Stop asking me about Ramadan, otherwise I will get up and leave."

Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb also explained that the national team "will not talk about" whether they observe Ramadan or not. "I make a personal decision, but will not make it public," he added in quotes reported by kicker.

Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra added: "I will hinge that on my physical state, but I think I'll do it."

Mesut Ozil will not take part in Ramadan due to his participation in the 2014 World Cup for Germany.

Ozil, the only practicing Muslim in Joachim Low's Germany squad, has already said that he will not observe Ramadan.

"I can't do it because of my job here, and I'd like to think the Algerians will do it just like me," he told kicker. "We would risk our health by not drinking or eating. And that would also not be consistent with the Quran."

Ozil has been backed by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, who reached an agreement with the German FA in 2010. The Central Council had asked for an expert opinion by the Islamic Al-Azhar academy in Cairo, which came to the conclusion that fast-breaking is allowed for professional footballers.

Switzerland's Muslim players like Shaqiri, Xhaka and Behrami have also announced that they will not observe Ramadan.

Behrami told kicker: "It would not be good timing. To eat and drink is important in this climate."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.