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French Football Federation's Ramadan fasting ban sparks controversy among players

Posted : 22 March 2024

Midfielder Mahamadou Diawara has departed from France's under-19 squad following the revelation of new regulations from the French Football Federation (FFF), prohibiting Muslim players from fasting during Ramadan while training with the national team, as per sources disclosed to ESPN.


Diawara, feeling discomfort with the introduced measures extending from U16 to senior level, opted to withdraw from the squad and return to his club, Lyon, according to ESPN sources. In response, the FFF has acknowledged Diawara's departure and named Nantes' Dehmaine Tabibou Assoumani as his replacement.


FFF president Philippe Diallo defended the imposition of the new rules in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, citing the principle of neutrality enshrined in the federation's statutes and emphasizing measures to prevent religious interference in athletic pursuits.


The regulations stipulate that players selected for French national teams must adhere to the standard operational routines, barring fasting during Ramadan while on duty, with provisions made for players to compensate for missed fasting days at the conclusion of the religious observance.


While the new guidelines were communicated to players across all French national teams, including from U16 to senior levels, discontent has surfaced among some players who perceive the measures as a lack of respect for their religious practices.


An agent representing several players within France's youth and senior setups revealed to ESPN that while some players are reluctant to voice objections, Diawara's decision to depart signifies his dissatisfaction with the directive.


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