Bradford Bulls have broken new ground in rugby league by hosting an Iftar event to celebrate the month of Ramadan

BRADFORD BULLS have become the first English Rugby League club to host an Iftar event, celebrating the month of Ramadan and the diversity within the local community and across the city.

Iftar is when people who are taking part in Ramadan come together at sunset to break their daily fast. During Ramadan, which ends on 21 April, Muslims do not eat or drink during the hours of daylight as they devote themselves to the Islamic faith. This evening’s event will bring together people from across the game, different religions, backgrounds and communities to share a meal, as those practicing open their fast.

Around a quarter of Bradford’s population identify themselves as Muslim and similar events have been taking place across the city in recent weeks. At 7pm this evening, guests including RFL Chief Executive Tony Sutton and Rimla Akhtar OBE, chair of the sport’s Inclusion Board, will join representatives from both the club and the local community to share and enjoy the Iftar.

Bradford Bulls Commercial Manager Ian Stafford said: “We are delighted to be hosting an Iftar event at Odsal Stadium this evening, which we believe will be the first time a Rugby League club on these shores has held one.

“As a club, we are keen on reaching out to all communities within Bradford and this event is another example of our inclusive approach. We welcome people of all beliefs and backgrounds to Odsal Stadium.

“I would like to thank Ikram Butt, Siddique Amin and Humayun Islam for their support and guidance. I would also like to thank the RFL for their upcoming attendance and support.”

Rimla Akhtar OBE, Chair of Rugby League’s Inclusion Board, added: “People from different faiths and backgrounds coming together to share an experience such as this is so important. It’s an opportunity for our sport to engage with, support and understand our local communities, as well as the various religions and cultures within it. Bradford Bulls are to be commended for making this happen, for nurturing that connection and sense of belonging. It’s an honour to be invited.”

Earlier this year the Bulls become the fifth professional Rugby League club to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter, demonstrating the club’s commitment to inclusion in the city. Developed by London-based Nujum Sports, the charter aims to encourage the active involvement of Muslim athletes in sport, and to advance inclusion and diversity at all levels.

In 2022 the Rugby Football League became English sport’s first national governing body to sign the charter and has been working in partnership with Nujum Sports this Ramadan to make Rugby League an inclusive environment for all. Support has included educational workshops and the delivery of Ramadan packs to players, coaching staff and match officials, with expert nutritional advice and items significant to the Islamic faith. One of the recipients, Nene MacDonald, has been a stand-out performer during Leeds Rhinos’ last two home victories – all whilst fasting the roughly 15 hours from dawn until sunset.