Chelsea open their doors to the Muslim community as hundreds gather pitchside to break their fast during Ramadan… with Stamford Bridge becoming the first Premier League ground to host an Open Iftar
- Chelsea hosted Muslims celebrating Ramadan at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
- The Blues’ ground is the first Premier League stadium to host an Open Iftar
- Hundreds gathered to break their fast pitchside during the community event
Stamford Bridge became the first Premier League stadium to hold an Open Iftar event as Chelsea opened their doors to the local community on Sunday evening, with hundreds gathering to break their fast pitch side.
Open Iftar – the UK’s largest community event during Ramadan, enables people to gather and do Iftar – the meal to break the fast – together, as well as providing a safe space for mutual dialogue and engagement.
Paul Canoville, the first black player to play for Chelsea, was a guest speaker at the event.
‘It means everything to me seeing that the community is together. That’s what football is all about – bringing people together,’ said Canoville, who played 103 games in a five-year period between 1981 and 1986.
‘I didn’t know what to expect but it was an experience I’ve never come across and definitely one I’d like to do again.
Chelsea opened their doors to the Muslim community this week as hundreds gathered pitchside at Stamford Bridge to break their fast during Ramadan
The Bridge became the first Premier League ground to host an Open Iftar – the UK’s largest community event during Ramadan
Chelsea invited members of the local community to host the Iftar – the meal which allows Muslims to break their fast together
‘I’m proud and honoured to be invited and asked to speak today by the club.’
Members of the local community in Fulham, as well as supporters and school students were invited to attend, along with Chelsea FC staff.
Daniel Finkelstein OBE, member of the House of Lords, Chelsea fan and Chair of the Chelsea Foundation also spoke at the event.
‘For us, Chelsea is a community and this is a symbol of our love and respect for everyone who’s a part of that.
‘When we say we’re the Pride of London, that’s a wider community that stretches across all the diversity of our communities and at Chelsea, we wanted to demonstrate that. This is the most concrete expression of that,’ said Finkelstein.
‘It’s also fascinating and moving for everyone who’s part of the club to learn more about other fans and what they do.
‘A football club understands spirituality, tradition and heritage – it’s part of what every football club is. And this is a celebration of that,’ he added.
The event was hailed a show of ‘love and respect’ for other cultures and a celebration of diversity
Chelsea have a number of Muslim players – including N’Golo Kante (L) and Hakim Ziyech (R)
Chelsea’s current squad includes an array of Muslim players including the likes of Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, Hakim Ziyech and Malang Sarr.
Just last week, it was revealed that match officials in the Premier League and EFL have been informed by PGMOL to pause matches for Muslim players to break their fast, when there is a natural stoppage in play.
Open Iftar plan to hold similar events at Brighton (March 27), QPR (March 30), Aston Villa (April 5) and Wembley (April 15) over the rest of Ramadan.
Their project is run in collaboration with the Ramadan Tent Project, a charity established in 2013 with the mission of bringing communities together and developing the understanding of Ramadan.
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