The religion of conquest is slowly taking hold of the most popular sport in the world. From infiltrating FIFA to change the rules, to securing rights to U.S. World Cup qualifiers, to removing logo’s, Manchester United too, to owning teams.
It’s a Premier League ritual and a big moment for the man of the match… as he is presented with a large bottle of champagne in the tunnel after the game.
But a series of embarrassing incidents involving Muslim footballers has prompted the league to offer a non-alcoholic alternative from the Middle East.
From now on, any Muslim man of the match will be rewarded with a bottle of waard – a combination of rosewater and pomegranate seen as a more ‘culturally appropriate’ token of their achievement.
Earlier this year, Premier League sponsor Barclays considered scrapping the award altogether after one of Manchester City’s star players, Yaya Toure, turned down his prize on live TV, telling a teammate: ‘I don’t drink because I am a Muslim, so you keep it.’
Last weekend, Newcastle United striker Demba Ba, declined even to pass team-mate Jonas Gutierrez the champagne after Gutierrez was voted man of the match.
Ba, whose goal celebration is the Sujood, the prostration performed in prayer to Allah, is one of four Muslim players at Newcastle.
There’s something he can keep…to himself. But that too would offend him. He is Muslim. And they must never be offended.
A Premier League spokesman said: ‘We have players from all over the world and are watched all over the world.
‘This is a sensible move and we support it.’
Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. Submission is never sensible.