JERUSALEM - Israeli Arab players accused the national soccer federation of religious insensitivity for refusing to reschedule a game during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, observant Muslims refrain from drinking and eating from sunrise to sunset. When the federation slotted a game Saturday for the mixed Arab-Jewish team of Bnei Sakhnin just four minutes after the end of the fast, seven of the Muslim players ate early to be ready.
Before Ramadan, which began in early October, the team asked the federation not to schedule games for an hour after the end of the fast, the club's Jewish coach, Loufa Kadosh, told Israel Army Radio on Monday. The team's captain, Abbas Suan, a Muslim, said the refusal to reschedule the game was inexcusable.
"I have represented the state and the national team in the most respectful way, but unfortunately the majority continues to ignore us," Suan told the Maariv daily.
The federation's manager, Pini Kainan, said the match had to be held at the designated time due to commercial considerations, including TV broadcast times.
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