Iftar Feast with the Pack celebrated at Molineux

On Monday, Molineux hosted the club’s second Iftar Feast with the Pack, celebrating faith and culture with players, staff, supporters and the local community.

March and April are special months of the year for different religions, including the period of Ramadan for the Muslim community, and on Monday that was celebrated with the sharing of a feast and the breaking of fast known as Iftar – the meal eaten after sunset for those fasting.

To mark the occasion, 220 people of different backgrounds, ages, professions and beliefs were in attendance at Molineux, with nearly half visiting Wolves’ home for the first time.

The open invitation was extended in the spirit of sharing and learning more about the different cultures and tastes that make up the city and football club, inviting supporters, interfaith networks, players and staff and their families to a unique event to embrace Ramadan with the sharing of an Iftar Feast with the Pack.

In 2021, Wolves became one of the first clubs to sign the Muslim Athlete Charter, marking the beginning of a journey for professional sporting organisations to adopt good practice and better understand the needs of Muslim sporting professionals and fans. Wolves currently have 16 Muslim players across the men’s and women’s first-team and academy, and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde and Layla Banaras, practising Muslim themselves, attended the feast.

Other representatives included from the club’s Equality Advisory Group, West Midlands Combined Authority, the City of Wolverhampton Council and the University of Wolverhampton along with attendance from supporter groups including Molineux Connects and Punjabi Wolves.

A special Q&A panel provided a cross section of voices, before the call to prayer (Adhaan) was observed at 7.58pm which signals the breaking of fast and is one of the five Muslim prayers, this was delivered over the Molineux PA system and could be heard in the vicinity, local residents and supporters were encouraged to gather outside their homes as family, friends or neighbours in belonging and harmony.

The evening was opened by Wolves’ EDI manager Gurpri Bains and head of Wolves Foundation Will Clowes, before the panel led by Wolves presenter Gemma Frith welcomed Imam Mohammad Asad MBE, faith leader in Wolverhampton for the past 25 years and Muslim chaplain at University of Wolverhampton alongside Reverend Dr Sarah Schofield, lead chaplain for the University of Wolverhampton and a priest for the Church of England.

They were joined by Zulf Khan, senior finance manager for Wolves Foundation, Layla Banaras, Wolves Women, Rhondell Stabana, player care officer at Wolves Academy, and Danyal Khan, a midlands reporter for Sky Sports News, were also present.

The panel were asked about faith and spirituality, what Ramadan means to them and the importance of the Molineux event, providing a moment of connection and education for all those in attendance. The panel concluded with personal reflections from year 11 students, Eleanor, Luke and Scarlett from Wolgarston High School, who have been taking part in Ramadan to learn about fasting and other religions.

Bains said: “Iftar Feast with the Pack is about unity and breaking bread together, regardless of faith or belief, as a football club in the heart of the city. We were pleased to be able to bring people together to experience this special event emphasising the importance of inclusivity on and off the pitch.

“It is positive to see young people, especially women and girls and families, engaging with the event which highlighted the importance of togetherness, respect and friendship. It was a sentimental moment that truly championed our One Pack ethos, connecting communities, supporters, staff and players all together as one.”