Referees in France were told by the country's football federation not to pause matches to let Muslim players break their fast during the month of Ramadan.
Unlike England's Premier League which allows it, the practice apparently does not comply with the French Football Federation's statutes, as several media outlets reported the body saying in an email sent to referees Thursday.
It said it had been brought to the federation's attention that matches were being interrupted following the breaking of the Ramadan fast.
"The idea is that there is a time for everything. A time to do sport, a time to practice one's religion," Eric Borghini, head of the federal referee commission at the federation, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He said that the federation had learned that "a certain number of amateur-level meetings have been stopped to allow players observing the fast to hydrate."
This is not permitted in the regulations, he said, highlighting they included the strict respect of the principle of secularism in football.
English football has taken the reverse decision and will permit matches of the Premier League to pause during the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset. It is being observed this year from March 22.
Asked about the issue, Nice coach Didier Digard said Friday that several Muslim players in the team observed Ramadan without any problems.
Although he said it would be good if France allowed the breaks, he added "nobody cares that they don't do it. Because we are not in a Muslim country. You have to accept the country you live in," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, Muslim players in the French national football team were allegedly asked to postpone their fasting for a few days in selection during Ramadan.
French sports daily L'Equipe said on March 23 that the France staff allegedly "recommended" their Muslim players postpone their practice during the five days they spent in selection so that the players' performance would not be affected during their EURO 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands on March 24, and Ireland on March 27.
The same source added that Les Bleus staff would not force anyone in the team not to follow his faith but gave "recommendations" about this issue.
Ramadan started on March 23 and will continue through April 21 – the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
France, with six points, are with Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland and Gibraltar in Group B.
On March 24, France hammered the Netherlands 4-0 in their EURO 2024 qualifying Group B opener at Stade de France. A few days later, Les Bleus took a 1-0 win at Ireland to lead Group B.
There have been several Muslim players in the Les Bleus squad for years, such as Zinedine Zidane, Franck Ribery, Nicolas Anelka, Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembele, and N'Golo Kante.
Pogba, Dembele and Kante were active players, but the France trio had injury problems this season.
But Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana, and Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate, the Muslim players in France's team, were selected by Didier Deschamps for the EURO 2024 qualifiers that started last week.
They both played against the Netherlands. Konate was in the starting 11 for the Ireland match, but Fofana was among the substitutes and he did not play in Dublin.