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Palace for Life welcome south London community to third annual Iftar at Selhurst Park

We were thrilled to welcome over 100 south Londoners to break-fast at our third annual Iftar at Selhurst Park last week.

Last week, we held our third annual Iftar event at Selhurst Park Stadium as part of this year’s Ramadan celebrations. Iftar is the main meal of the fasting day throughout Ramadan, and is traditionally shared at sunset.

We’re all about making football more inclusive, so this event was part of our ongoing mission to welcome more people to the game, especially our local Asian and Muslim community, the latter of which makes up 11% of the community in Croydon.

This year we had over 100 attendees including representatives from the MET police, local voluntary services, and the Mayor of Croydon, Jason Perry – all hosted by friend of Palace for Life and Foundation Patron, Saima Mohsin.

The evening began with a handful of local business booths, alongside some games and colouring for children, before guests headed into Speroni’s Restaurant for a Q&A. Saima Mohsin headed up the panel, with some local faces from the Crystal Palace community sharing their stories. Akram Uddin, a teenager who came through as a participant on our early ‘Get Involved’ community sports sessions, before giving up his time to volunteer, and now coach at sessions across Palace for Life. Riz Rehman, a Professional Footballers Association Inclusion Executive, who set up a charity to help young Asian and Muslim participants get into coaching. And Eesa Tsong, an up and coming football star who plays for the U13s Crystal Palace Academy team.

After the conversation, everyone gathered for the call to prayer with dates and water, snapped a group photo on our pitch, and then enjoyed a delicious three-course meal. The spread included lentil soup, chicken or lamb biriyani with naan bread, and a tasty rabdi kheer for dessert.

We’re immensely grateful for the incredible turnout and support from our local community. Our Iftar’s are a key part of our mission to make football more inclusive for groups that haven’t always had a big presence in the game.

Funded by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association, our Get Involved programme aims to increase weekly engagement in physical activity, specifically from those of Asian backgrounds. We address the barriers to participation in grassroots football by maintaining dialogue with the local community so we can ensure spaces are truly inclusive. This includes separate male and female sessions, different age groups, and sessions for those of different abilities.

For more information on the Get Involved programme, please head here.