Rio de Janeiro: Germany's Mesut Ozil and France defender Bacary Sagna will not observe Ramzan when it starts today, but many World Cup players who do follow the Muslim fasting month will be under strict medical surveillance.
France's Bacary Sagna and Germany's Mesut Ozil
"I can't take part," said Arsenal's attacking midfielder Ozil, adding that he is "working" at the World Cup. "It will be impossible for me to take part this year."
Sagna pointed out that Islam gives permission to Muslims to not fast in certain cases. "As a Muslim I know some laws allow you to avoid fasting. I will not fast but I respect those who will practise it," said the player of Senegalese origin, reports EFE.
The Algerians, who will be fasting, are consulting Hakim Chalabi, a sports medicine specialist at the Aspetar clinic in Doha and one of FIFA's leading experts on fasting footballers.
"It is a period when the risk of injury increases, especially in the lower back, the joints and the muscles," said Chalabi. "This is mainly because of dehydration and not the lack of eating."