FA hands out tactics for the festival season


Premier League footballers should now know all about succahs, fasting and the Days of Awe thanks to a new initiative by the Football Association.

The sport's governing body has sent detailed factsheets about the High Holy Days to professonal and amateur clubs throughout England in a bid to improve religious understanding within football.

Called Tishri & Football - a reference to the Jewish month in which the festivals take place - the sheet includes the dates of each festival, statistics on which are most likely to observed, and explains the traditions of each one.

An extract reads: "Most Jews take time off work and refrain from regular activity on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

"Most UK Jews will expect people to be aware of these festivals and maybe offended if you schedule activities on one of those days.

The idea is to make life easier for Jews working in football

"Around 10-20 per cent of Jews who are strictly religious take off Succot/Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah."

The factsheet was produced by the FA Faith and Football Group, in association with Maccabi GB and the Community Security Trust.

It includes advice on what to expect from Jewish players and employees during the festival period. It warns that on seven days in Tishri "Jews are not permitted to work so this will have a real impact on those involved in football".

FA Faith and Football Group Chair Alex Goldberg said: "The idea is to make life easier for Jewish people who work in the football industry, not just the players. It's part of our programme to demystify religious festivals for clubs."

The initiative began this year and encompasses all major religions. The first factsheet was sent out in July and offered advice on the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

The group plans to do the same for the Hindu festival Diwali and possibly one for Lent too.

"If we can find a way of playing football that accommodates the needs of more communities, then that's a good thing," said Mr Goldberg.

He added that the response from football clubs had been very positive.

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