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Quebec Soccer Association Upholds Turban Ban On Playing Field


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Quebec soccer association upholds ban on Turbans on the playing field

By Benjamin Shingler, The Canadian PressJune 2, 2013 3:10 PM

MONTREAL - The Quebec Soccer Federation announced Sunday it has decided to keep a ban against players wearing turbans on the field.

The federation began cracking down on turbans — the religious headgear worn by Sikhs — in the past few years.

Referees who don’t apply the rule could face penalties of their own.

In April the Canadian Soccer Association asked provincial associations to allow turbans on the field.

The Quebec federation said in a statement that its decision is in line with the position of the international soccer organization FIFA, which has yet to take a clear stand on the issue.

The federation said it would lift the ban immediately if FIFA decides to.

Members of the Sikh community, however, say FIFA's position is beside the point.

Balpreet Singh, a spokesman for the World Sikh Organization of Canada, said FIFA is responsible for major international tournaments, while the Quebec Soccer Federation oversees recreational leagues.

"We're talking about kids having fun," Singh said in an interview, adding he was "very disappointed" with the ruling.

The organization is exploring its options and is considering taking legal action, he said.

Between 100 and 200 soccer players are affected by the ruling.

Singh said Quebec is the only province where Sikh soccer players have faced problems because they wear a turban.

It's not first time religious headgear on the soccer field has been the source of controversy in the province.

Quebec, which has been the site of heated debate over "reasonable accommodation'' of minorities, banned a teen in 2011 from working as a soccer referee while wearing a hijab.

The statement from the Quebec Soccer Federation noted that girls are now permitted to wear headscarves on the field in Quebec, following a directive from FIFA in 2012

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If they can drive motorcycles with turbans on, why not play soccer? But I understand how they would want to follow FIFA rules as closely as possible. Sikhs should respect the rules of other organizations just as QSF/FIFA should respect the commitment of the Sikhs. You can't bully other organizations into accepting your religious rules, I'm sure if they got together and talked with FIFA they could reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Besides calling them ignorant racists, has anyone considered that wearing a turban might give those players an advantage/ disadvangate to a team since headbutting the ball seems to be a big thing? If your team-mates have turbanes on and cant hit the ball with their head, that team is at a disadvantage and its unfair to the team. It makes more sense then them just being flat out racist.

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I recall that the ban on the burka for women playing soccer was based on a choking hazard that could occur(if my memory serves me). But I don't see how the turban/sikh headgear would even apply since its quite obviously more secure. Might as well say no sikhs on the field in Quebec.

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