A PRAYER room has been created at Ewood Park to allow Blackburn Rovers fans to worship on matchdays.
It is hoped the move will help to attract new supporters from all faiths and backgrounds.
The new multi-faith prayer room has been opened in the Blackburn End for the new season.
It is one of the first such facilities to open at a Premier League football stadium.
The move has been praised as “commendable” by the Lancashire Council of Mosques and The Dean of Blackburn Cathedral.
It has been built in the lower concourse area, where supporters buy snacks, drinks, place bets, and watch Rovers TV, by taking away space from one of the toilet blocks.
Rovers’ managing director Tom Finn said the specially sound-proofed facility was designed to provide existing staff and supporters with a quiet space for prayer and reflection, as well as encouraging fans from all faiths and backgrounds to attend more games.
Bolton Wanderers already have a quiet room in one of the stands at the Reebok Stadium and last season every team in the Scottish Premier League made facilities available to allow Muslim players to pray before and after games.
Adult Muslims are required to pray five times daily, as part of their religion.
At Ewood Park supporters wishing to use the facility, who are located in other areas of the stadium, will be able to gain access to the multi-faith room by asking a steward. Stewards will then escort supporters to the room.
Mr Finn said: “We welcome all fans to Ewood Park, whatever their backgrounds. We acknowledge that we live in a diverse society and therefore need to accommodate the needs of people from all walks of life.”
Salim Mulla, the senior vice chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said the creation of the facility was “commendable”.
Mr Mulla, who is also the vice chairman of the Blackburn with Darwen inter-faith council, said: “This is a fantastic gesture by Blackburn Rovers and shows that the club has got a very good understanding of the needs of the Muslim community.
“There is a large Muslim community in East Lancashire and I am sure that this move will encourage more Muslim people to go to matches.
“What they have done is very positive and should be commended.”
Bosses at Blackburn Rovers said they did not want to reveal the exact contents of the room but fans who attended the friendly against NEC Breda on Saturday reported seeing prayer mats, as well as copies of religious texts.
Dean Christopher Armstrong, from Blackburn Cathedral, said: “As everyone knows, Blackburn has two cathedrals, one here in the centre of town and another at Ewood Park!
“Blackburn Rovers have to find ways to appeal to a wider community and already offer many superb facilities.
“The club is to be congratulated on its open-mindedness and recognising the spirituality of all of its fans. It is crucial that inter-faith projects like this are allowed to succeed.”
Multi-faith prayer rooms are already in place in the Royal Blackburn Hospital, all local town halls and even most motorway service stations.
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