Wolves defender Romain Saiss spoke about being a top player in the Muslim Premier League and the different experience of Ramadan this year as his club signed the Muslim Athletes Charter.
Having joined Wolves in 2016, he told Sky Sports News what Ramadan means to him as a professional footballer.
“It’s really important for me, as a Muslim, it’s a good time to spend with family and then also to improve your faith and your knowledge of Islam,” he said.
Ramadan has already started and is expected to last until Sunday, May 1. During this period, Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset for about a month. The period also involves regular daily prayers, acts of charity, and self-reflection.
In September of last year, Wolves signed the Muslim Athletes Charter encourage the involvement of Muslims in sport. This means better access to halal food, places of worship and Muslim athletes consulted on their faith-based needs.
“It means a lot to a player like me and the other Muslim players so we know we can have another food option, now we are training a bit later so sometimes we missed prayers so that’s good for me. ‘have a prayer room here to do it,’ he said Sky Sports News.
During the day, Muslims do not eat or drink until sunset each day. The Premier League has several athletes who will fast throughout the period.
Asked about the most difficult aspects, the Wolves defender said: “Maybe the drink, not drink because we spend a lot of time on the court, working hard and even outside in the gym.
“So I think it’s more the drink for me. I think it’s different for every player. The easiest thing to do is not to think about it, even if it’s difficult sometimes.“
The Moroccan captain goes on to talk about his experiences discussing faith in the club dressing room.
“If they want to know something about Ramadan; ‘how do you handle food and drink during the day?’ Those kinds of questions, or just asking why we do Ramadan in our religion, so it’s a conversation nice to have, and you can learn a lot from each other.”
Saiss goes on to mention how the holy month makes him more sensitive to the struggles faced by people around the world.
“You can see, for example, the importance of food and drink. You can even teach your children, you can see that we don’t eat, we don’t drink. It’s really hard to imagine the people who struggle to eat every day.”
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Families celebrate together by feasting and exchanging gifts.
The Wolves player says he really misses his grandmother’s food, and even though he’s not with his extended family, he’s still making the most of the family festivities in England.
“I miss Eid a lot because most of the time we train or go to games, but normally it’s just a good day. Going to the mosque in the morning for prayers, having food and gifts for the children,” he said. added.
“That’s normally what we do but now it’s a bit different. We try to have a good day when I come back from training for example.”