By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih Al-'Uthaymeen (rahimahuLlaah)

Questioner: Oh Noble Shaykh, is it permissible to watch sports events on T.V?

Answer: What is the benefit in watching these events?

Questioner: Another person and I differed about this issue. I said it is a waste of time and the players 'Aurah is exposed; as they wear shorts which reach the middle of the thigh. He said no, it is permissible to watch these games. Therefore I said I will pose the question to 'Uthaymeen.

Answer: The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him)said,
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"Whoever believes in Allah and the last day must say good things or else remain quiet."[ Bukhari 6018]

Since Allah prohibited us to speaking only good speech,and then more so for actions. Watching these games and tournaments have many dangers;

1. Wasting time. You find a person afflicted with watching these matches totally engaged. So much so he wastes too much time, and perhaps he misses the prayer in congregation or misses its fixed time.

2. Watching people who expose half of their thighs. The thigh is considered a part of the 'aurah with most of the people of knowledge. We hold the opinion that it is Haraam for the youth to expose any part of their thigh and in particular anything high above the knee.

3. Glorifying and praising a major sinner or an atheist. Consequently a person who watches these games might praise someone unworthy of praise. And no doubt this is dangerous.

4. Wasting money. Watching these games result in wasting money; as the T.V uses electricity. A television consumes electricity even though it may be a small amount it still does. Furthermore it accumulates a bill for something which brings no benefit in this life or the next. Hence it is considered a waste of money.

5. Arguing and disputing. We have one person cheering and supporting this team who win. Another person cheering and supporting the other team. For this reason a dispute happens between them with a long drawn out argument.

Due to all of these reasons I advise everyone and in particular the youth to avoid spending time watching these matches and tournaments. Also I advise the people to take some time and think about the gain in watching these games. What is the benefit? Additionally, you find some people playing in these events racing, competing with each other or being carried on one's shoulder all of which contradict the sense of honor and manhood.

Taken from: حكم مشاهدة المباريات الرياضية - شبكة سحاب السلفية
Translated by, Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Playing football nowadays is accompanied by reprehensible things which mean that playing it should be disallowed. These things may be summed up as follows:

1 – It is proven to us that play continues during the times of prayer, which results in the players and spectators missing prayers or prayers in congregation, or they delay performing prayers until the time for them is over. Undoubtedly any action that interferes with performance of prayers on time or leads to missing prayers in congregation with no valid shar’i excuse is haraam.

2 – The nature of this game leads to factionalism, stirring up fitnah and hatred. These results are the opposite of what Islam promotes of tolerance, friendship and brotherhood, and cleaning hearts and souls of hatred, resentment and grudges.

3 – The game involves physical danger for the players as a result of collisions and injuries. Usually the players do not end the game without some of them falling on the pitch unconscious or with broken arms or legs. Nothing is more indicative of that than the fact that there must always be an ambulance present throughout the game.

4 – The purpose behind allowing sports is to make people become physically active and to train them for fighting and to ward off chronic disease. But playing football nowadays has no such aim. As well as the things mentioned above, it is now also taking people’s money for false purposes, let alone the danger of physical injury and the generation of hatred in the hearts of players and spectators, and the stirring up of fitnah. It has even gone so far that some spectators attack some players, which could go as far as murder, as happened in a match a few months ago. This alone is sufficient reason to disallow it. And Allaah is the source of strength. End quote.
Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem (8/116, 117).

As for playing football just to strengthen the body and give it energy, or to treat some diseases without falling into any of these haraam things, this is something permissible.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The basic principle concerning such games and sports is that they are permissible if they serve an innocent purpose, as was referred to by Ibn al-Qayyim in his book al-Faroosiyyah and as was mentioned by Shaykh Taqiy al-Deen Ibn Taymiyah and others. If that is done as training for jihad and attack and retreat, or for physical fitness, or to ward off chronic diseases and strengthen the spirit, then it comes under the heading of permissible things, if the one who does it has a sound intention. In all cases it is essential that there be no harm caused to bodies or minds, and that it does not lead to the grudges and hatred that usually occur between players, and that it does not distract them from things that are more important, and that it does not prevent them from remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) or prayer. End quote.
Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem (8/118)

He also said:
Playing football in this organized manner, making the players into two factions, whether they are paid or not, should not be done, because it involves preventing remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) and prayer. It may also involve consuming wealth unlawfully and may be accompanied by gambling; it is akin to playing chess in some ways.

But if one or two people play with a ball and play football in an unorganized fashion, there is nothing wrong with that because it does not involve anything haraam. And Allaah knows best. End quote.
Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem (8/119)

In the answer to question no. 22305 we have explained the conditions for it to be permissible to play football. Among the things we said there was the following:

The third condition: that it should not take up too much of the player’s time, let alone take up all his time or mean that he becomes known among people for that, or it becomes his job, because then there is the fear that the words of Allaah may be true in his case: “Who took their religion as an amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them. So this Day We shall forget them” [al-A’raaf 7:51]. End quote.

Thus it is clear that taking football as a profession as it exists nowadays is haraam, because it includes things that are forbidden in Islam, even if playing football is basically permissible.
This applies especially if we realize what is involved in taking football as a profession, such as travelling to kaafir countries to play against international teams. It is obvious to everyone what kind of kufr, evil and sin is present in those countries, and it is also well known that the players are exposed to the temptations of women and desires because of their fame, stardom and wealth.

It should also be noted that settling in kaafir countries is haraam, and it is not permissible except in cases of need, subject to certain conditions which have been explained in question no. 38284.

And Allah knows best.