IFA forces players to break Ramadan fast

Seven Bnei Sakhnin players ate before the game started, four minutes after fast's end.

abbas suan 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
abbas suan 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Some Muslim players in the Israeli Premier League have added their voices to the ongoing chorus that charges the Israel Football Association with ignoring religious considerations. Saturday's match between Bnei Sakhnin and Hapoel Tel Aviv started just four minutes after the Ramadan fast ended. Seven of the Muslim players ate early to be ready for the game. Immediately after the match, Abbas Suan and another Bnei Sakhnin player drove to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to pray for atonement for breaking the fast. Ahead of Ramadan, which began in early October, Bnei Sakhnin had asked the IFA to schedule its games to begin at least an hour after the end of the fast, the team's coach, Lufa Kadosh, told Army Radio on Monday. Kadosh likened holding the game immediately after the end of the daily fast to scheduling a game on Yom Kippur, when most Jews fast. Most Premier League matches are held on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath, and rabbis have been unsuccessful in their attempts to halt this practice. Bnei Sakhnin officials said they would bring up the matter at the next meeting of the association's board. IFA manager Pini Kainan said that the federation had to hold the match at the designated time due to commercial considerations, including TV broadcast times. AP contributed to this report.