A goalkeeper for the Tunisian football team appears to have feigned injury so his hungry teammates could break their strict Ramadan fast during games.
Mouez Hassen was spotted going to ground with an ‘injury’ not once – but twice – during the nation’s two recent World Cup warm-up matches against Portugal and Turkey.
Footage shows how his team members used the minute-long interludes, which coincided with sunset, to eagerly eat dates and drink water as their goalie received treatment.
Ramadan, which is observed by practising Muslims, forbids adherents from eating food or drinking liquids in daylight hours during the month-long fast.
In the match against Portugal, Mouez Hassen, who plays for French Ligue 1 team Nice, was seen falling to the ground while clutching his arm in the 58th minute – forcing the referee to call a temporary halt.
After getting food and water, his revived Tunisian players staged a comeback and leveled proceedings 2-2 after trailing by a goal.
Against Turkey, a 49-minute stoppage was called and resulted in a 2-2 draw between the two teams.
However, Turkey’s players, who are also predominantly Muslim, did not use the time-out to break their fast.
The team’s special arrangement appears to have been rumbled by Tunisian football journalist Souhail Khmira, who claimed on Twitter that there is an ‘agreement’ between the players and their goalkeeper during Ramadan.
Football fans have taken to social media to tease the goalkeeper over his antics, including player Chaker Alhadhur who chided on Twitter: ‘It’s all right now, we know you were pretending.’
Hassen responded: ‘I was injured bruv’ alongside laughing emojis.
Tunisian football’s governing body has not commented on the two incidents but it is unlikely that Hassen will face charges as it is virtually impossible to prove he was faking his injuries.
Islam makes an exception for those who are unable or too unwell to participate during Ramadan, and numerous Muslim athletes decline to fast while competing in elite-level sport.
British gold-medal distance runner Mo Farah refuses to fast during the running season and only observes Ramadan after it has finished.
Tunisia will play their final World Cup warm-up match on June 9 against Spain.
Thankfully for Muslim participants, Ramadan will finish on June 14 – one day before the start of the competition as Russia take on their opening opponents, Saudi Arabia.
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