During the holy month of Ramadan, devout Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, abstaining even from water. But a Muslim group and German soccer authorities have determined that professional Muslim players may break their fast to be fit for games.
Last year, German second division club FSV Frankfurt gave a formal warning to three of its players for fasting. The dispute reached Germany's Central Council of Muslims, which said it sought advice from Al-Azhar in Egypt, the preeminent theological institute of Sunni Islam.
The council said Al-Azhar ruled a player can break his fast if he is obliged to perform under a contract that is his only source of income, if he has to play games during Ramadan, and if fasting affects his performance. The council said the European Council for Fatwa and Research supported the ruling. Players can make good the fasting days when there aren't games, a council spokesman said.