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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Muslim team forces FA rule change
Abraham Moss Warriors
The club was thrown out after refusing to fulfil its fixtures
The Football Association (FA) has changed its rules after a team was expelled by its league when Muslim players refused to play during Ramadan.

Manchester's Abraham Moss Warriors were fined by the FA and thrown out of the Lancashire League after the boys' team refused to play morning games.

The club was worried players fasting for Ramadan would become dehydrated as they could not drink before sunset.

The FA has now said no team must play if it affects religious observance.

Previously the rules only applied to Christians being asked to play on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

We felt this would better represent the variety of religions and faiths in society and football
Football Association

"This is a massive victory not just for us but for everyone of all faiths around the country who wants to play football," said Warriors' manager June Kelly.

"It is just a shame that it took something like this to get the rules changed.

"Fifty years ago the rule might have made sense when there were hardly any Muslims playing but now we are such a multi-cultural society it was completely out of date.

"We did lose a few players who wanted to play competitively but we have stuck together. Two of our players are going for trials with Manchester United and it shows how far we have come."

The team, from the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester, had been thrown out of the Bury and Radcliffe Junior League in March 2004.

June Kelly
Manager June Kelly hailed the decision as a "massive victory"

Its under-12 team asked for morning games to be put back to late afternoon to fit in with the Muslim holy month and for Friday fixtures to be delayed so players could attend morning prayers.

The Manchester FA stepped in and lobbied the national body for a change in the rules.

"We felt this was a change that would better represent the variety of religions and faiths in society and football, and be in keeping with our principal of football for all," an FA spokesman said.

The new rule will not apply to professional footballers, however, while some leagues may not accept the new rules for the coming season as they were not issued before the March deadline.

The Lancashire FA was unavailable for comment.


SEE ALSO:
Ramadan team loses ban appeal
02 Jun 04 |  Manchester
Ramadan team kicked out of cup
31 Mar 04 |  Manchester


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