One of the traditions of English football league is to present the best player in each match with a large bottle of champagne as an award when he leaves the pitch after the game. But when Manchester City player Yaya Toure was presented with the award after his team match against Newcastle last May, he turned it down.
“'I don't drink because I am a Muslim, so you keep it,” Toure told a teammate. The incident was broadcast live on television.
This prompted the Premier League sponsor Barclays to offer an alternative, according to the British newspaper the Daily Mail. From now on, any Muslim player who wins the “Man of the Match” award will be presented with a non-alcoholic beverage made of rosewater and pomegranate juice.
“This is a sensible move and we support it,” a spokesperson for the league told the newspaper, which noted that this move was not the first of its kind. Winners of the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix are also presented with a similar non-alcoholic beverage.
Toure is one of several Muslim footballers who play at the English Premier League, including Omani goalkeeper Ali al-Habsi, who wears the colors of Wigan Athletic.