On Thursday 28 April 2022 (6pm) the Football Association (FA) will join hands with Ramadan Tent Project and Islamic Relief UK for a community iftar. As football returns to normal since the onset of the pandemic, ‘A Game For All’ continues the FA’s focus on faith communities and will bridge the community in sharing a free meal at the home of English football, Wembley Stadium.
A Game For All is a key strategy which will run from 2021 to 2024 and ensure tackling discrimination remains a core priority for English football for years to come. As part of a commitment to working closely with faith communities, the event will highlight the essence of Ramadan by uniting the community with key representatives and guest speakers to share a free meal and enjoy meaningful conversations.
The event will include a panel discussion and the call to prayer recited by an imam pitch side on the stadium PA. This will be echoed around the venue with guests invited to the stands for this moment before breaking the fast at sunset, with an aim to end the holy month with a united community and make football for all.
The increasing cost of living is pushing families into poverty and Islamic Relief UK have partnered with West Ham United and Liverpool FC Foundation amongst others to distribute free food packs for families in need.
Open Iftar has convened and connected over 350,000 people across the UK, distributing over 150,000 hot meals in Ramadan, hosting over 300 guest speakers and collaborating with over 100 partners across the UK.
In the ninth month of the Islamic year, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink as well as increasing in charitable deeds. At sunset in the evening, a prayer called Maghrib is observed, followed by a meal to break the fast.
This meal to break the fast is called Iftar and will be open to all faiths and none, with the aim to bring the community together and incite conversations, togetherness, and meaningful reflections for a more united society.
Now in it’s third year, Ramadan Tent Project and Islamic Relief UK have hosted previous iftars across national venues this holy month, including The Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library amongst others. Almost entirely run by volunteers, the project delivered a virtual Open Iftar in 2021 and has launched its first line-up of physical events, with the final event being held at Trafalgar Square on Friday 29 April as the holy month comes to a close.
Tufail Hussain, UK Director of Islamic Relief UK said: “It is wonderful to come together with the Ramadan Tent Project to celebrate the return of in person iftars this year, for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work they do to bring faith and non-faith communities together is truly inspiring. As they continue to support the most vulnerable communities through their fundraising efforts, this is an important reminder of the challenges facing so many people who are struggling to provide for them and their families. This Ramadan, we know it’s more important than ever to support everyone we can.”
Dal Singh Darroch, Head of Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Programmes, The FA said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Ramadan Tent Project once again to host an Open Iftar event at Wembley Stadium, the home of English football. After a difficult couple of years for everybody across the country due to the pandemic, we’re looking forward to engaging with various faith communities throughout 2022 and beyond. This event will mark a significant date in the Muslim calendar, bringing faith and football closer together.”
Omar Salha, Founder and CEO of Ramadan Tent Project said: “We’re delighted to be launching the Ramadan Festival 2022 this year with our flagship Open Iftar events once again taking place across the UK, providing a unique iftar experience welcoming all people across the country. After two difficult years amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we are delighted to help facilitate a warm, open, inclusive and engaging environment where people can enjoy wholesome food, exchange, conversations and community engagement.”