Preston North End is to open a second multi-faith prayer room at Deepdale, which will also be used as a central point at the Blackpool fixture to hand out fresh food to supporters who are fasting during Ramadan.
Earlier in the season, a multi-faith prayer room was opened on the Invincibles Pavilion concourse, which has been made accessible for supporters sitting in all corners of the stadium to use on matchday.
However, due to the high demand and use of the current prayer room, the second prayer room – on the Sir Tom Finney concourse between the two block F entry points – will make praying facilities more easily accessible for fans all around the stadium, with those not sat in the Invincibles Pavilion previously needing to be escorted to the prayer room by stewards.
The launch of the second prayer room in time for the Blackpool fixture also coincides with the opening days of the Islamic Ramadan festival, which began over the weekend.
The addition comes on the Sir Tom Finney Stand concourse on the same night that the great man will have his life and legacy celebrated on what would have been his 100th birthday.
The prayer room has been opened by PNE defender, Bambo Diaby, a practising Muslim himself, who was also the first person to pray in the room this week.
Preston North End Community and Education Trust [PNECET] is delivering a month-long Ramadan project to support those who are fasting – abstaining from eating and drinking – during the holy month, and celebrations will be brought inside Deepdale while the West Lancashire derby is taking place.
The fast, which occurrs from sunrise to sunset each day during Ramadan, is set to conclude at approximately 8pm on the night of the Blackpool game.
Fans who are fasting will be able to collect a complimentary chicken tikka biryani meal from outside one of the two prayer rooms at half-time.
Fans in the Bill Shankly Kop can access the Sir Tom Finney Stand prayer room while those in the Alan Kelly Town End can utilise the Invincibles Pavilion prayer room. Supporters in these stands will continue to be required to contact their nearest steward, who will escort fans to the nearest prayer room every 15 minutes.
Dates and water will also be available to collect from the PNECET gazebo in the fan zone ahead of the game.
Community Engagement Officer Mo Patel said: “After opening our first multi-faith prayer room inside the stadium last year, it has been really encouraging to see the demand that is in place among our fans of all faiths to access the prayer facilities.
“It is important for us to continue to make these facilities as accessible as possible for as many supporters as we can inside the stadium which is why we are now taking this next step to open the new multi-faith prayer room.
“We look forward to seeing the additional facilities being utilised and hopefully making the matchday experience more inclusive for fans of all faiths, while removing barriers to attending fixtures, particularly during Ramadan.
“For the Blackpool fixture, we will be providing biryani meals, dates and water to allow fans who are fasting to break their fast either during the game or at half-time, ensuring as many of our ethnically diverse fans can show their support for the team as possible at the Blackpool fixture.”
For more information about the use of the multi-faith prayer room, to learn more about the Trust's work during Ramadan or to request supporting during Ramadan, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.