The founder of a midnight football league set up for players fasting during Ramadan has said he is “delighted” to be able to play outside in accordance with the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown.
altley Stallions Football Club in Birmingham was unable to host games last year due to the pandemic and players could only participate in online fitness sessions.
Obayed Hussain, founder of the Midnight Ramadan League and the football club, said the set-up provides a “regular outlet and space for our players to socialise safely”.
The midnight games see more than 200 players take part each year and are designed to help young people’s mental health and fitness during the month of fasting.
Mr Hussain said: “We are delighted to be able to play the game we love outside this year.
“Our sessions are framed around positive mental health and to encourage those from all backgrounds and ability to come and enjoy the game after fasting.
“Ramadan should be a time to concentrate on wellbeing and fitness, so we want to provide a regular outlet and space for our players to socialise safely.
“It will be a pleasure to lead and watch everyone dedicate themselves to fasting and training during this next month.”
Saltley’s women’s team will also play a big part in the league for the first time, with almost 100 set to participate.
The club said the women’s team’s participation will help to “break down barriers which prevent women and women of faith from getting involved in the sport”.
Saltley Women’s co-founder Yasmin Nessa said: “This is the first year we will be playing as a team during Ramadan.
“Lots of young women in Birmingham are a part of the club and it has been a pleasure to see them all feel empowered to express themselves on the pitch.
“We have nearly 100 participants this year for the league, which is our highest number of players yet.”