MOSCOW – Expecting more than 100,000 Muslim fans at the Russia 2018 World Cup, the world football governing body (FIFA) is planning a Muslim-Friendly guide which will detail the location of mosques, halal restaurants, and information on prayer times.
“My faith is part of my life so everybody who knows me knows that I am a Muslim and I live as such,” FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, a Senegalese Muslim, told Arab News.
“The World Cup this year will feature seven teams that will have a majority of Muslim players and most of the fans will be fasting during Ramadan, which ends just before the opening game.
Seven Muslim-majority countries qualified for the Russia World Cup this summer, namely, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Tunisia, Senegal, and Nigeria.
“We at FIFA would like to make sure all Muslims, be they players, staff or fans, have all the information they need if they want to, for example, buy halal food or pray,” Samoura added.
Teams from Muslim-majority countries have already picked Muslim locations for their training camp before the competition.
Egypt, for instance, has chosen Chechnya, where Islam is the predominant religion, for their team base.
On June 20, Iran will play Spain in Kazan, the Muslim-majority capital of Tatarstan, which is home to around 50 mosques.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st world soccer tournament, with this year event scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018.