Pauline Marois backs Quebec soccer ban on turbans

MONTREAL – Pauline Marois is coming out kicking in defence of the Quebec Soccer Federation and its refusal to let turban-wearing kids play the sport.

The Canadian Soccer Association suspended the provincial association on Monday after it showed no sign of overturning its controversial decision to to uphold a ban on Sikh turbans, patkas and keskis on the soccer pitch.

The Quebec premier says it’s unacceptable that the national organization would suspend her province’s soccer federation.

Marois says the Quebec soccer body is autonomous, has a right to establish its own rules and is not bound to the Canadian association.

The Quebec organization cites safety concerns for banning turbans, and points out that the world governing body, FIFA, doesn’t specifically allow turbans.

But critics counter that FIFA’s rules don’t explicitly ban turbans, either.

Marois, leader of the sovereigntist Parti Quebecois, said she supports the orientations of the Quebec body’s decision.

The Quebec Soccer Federation did not immediately return calls Tuesday about the suspension and is expected to hold a meeting on the matter later Tuesday.

The national organization said last week it expected the Quebec association to reverse the ban, which has drawn international news coverage and condemnation from several federal politicians. It says the Quebec organization will be suspended until the turban restriction is overturned.

Its unclear how the suspension might affect Quebec’s soccer players. A spokeswoman for the Canadian Soccer Association said Tuesday that she did not have specific details on the suspension.

The impact, however, could be felt in a variety of ways unless the situation is resolved soon, according to Canadian Soccer News.

Its website said the suspension could prevent Quebec all-star teams from playing outside the province, and even cancel games within Quebec that involve a nationally certified referee. If the suspension lasts a long time, Quebec youth teams could also be blocked from participating in national championships, the Canadian Soccer News reported.

On Tuesday, even the president of Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact weighed in on the turban-ban debate.

Joey Saputo said in a statement that kids should not be prevented from playing soccer because they wear a turban, but added that he thought the Canadian Soccer Association’s decision to suspend Quebec’s federation over the issue is “clearly exaggerated.”

He said the Quebec organization’s decision to ban turbans was based on a FIFA rule that is open to interpretation.

Saputo added that accusations of racism against the provincial federation were uncalled for considering the context of the Quebec body’s decision.

“The Canadian Soccer Association made a recommendation and did not officially state its position to provincial federations,” said Saputo, who also urged those involved to resolve the situation.

“All parties involved must find some common ground for the good of the sport.”

Shortly after the suspension was announced Monday, some of those who opposed the ban said they welcomed the national body’s tough-love approach.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tweeted his approval: “Good to see CDN Soccer Association take action against the Quebec Soccer Federation over its ridiculous turban ban.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau echoed the sentiment, tweeting that “Barring kids from playing soccer because they wear a turban is wrong. The CSA is right to suspend the #QSF.”

The CSA reports directly to the FIFA world body and is responsible for granting or revoking the membership of provincial federations.




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Pauline Marois backs Quebec soccer ban on turbans

  1. I hope Quebec lifts their evil ban, just as I hope Kenney lifts his equally evil ban on barring citizenship oaths while wearing Charter-protected face-coverings.

  2. Supposedly this is an issue of safety. However, I’ve yet to read how wearing a turban while playing soccer is a safety hazard. Does anyone know exactly how the turban ban is rationalized as a safety issue?

    I live in BC and have 2 kids that play/played soccer, so I’m more than used to seeing the occasional turban on a kids soccer field.

  3. For anybody who thought it was an isolated decision on the part of the QSF can now gauge the political ramifications. Once again marois shows her spite for minorities and raises the ugly head of intolerance as a prime minister! Since her election there has been countless incidents from the pasta-gate to more violent ones against people who speaks english on the streets, fire bombing of kosha restaurants, changing Radio-Canada name, turban ban. This is what happens in a society where the wrong doers believe their leader will back their actions. It reminds me of Hither’s Germany….

  4. What if the CSA banned the use of the French language on the pitch at any games on the rest of Canada. I’m sure there’s nothing that explicitly says French is permitted to be spoken in the FIFA rules, and I’m sure if not everyone on the pitch speaks French it could be risky, if someone didn’t understand what another player was saying.

  5. Doesn’t the wearing of the turban conflict with head butting the soccer ball? Does it give an unfair advantage? This is what came to my mind more than a supposed safety issue. Also I thought religious and political beliefs were to be put aside in the game of sport. No wearing of a cross, Kippah etc… What about respecting the uniform of the sport? Do they wear turbans playing cricket? Religion is what segregates, the root of wars. We will see a turban before the individual in my opinion.

    Anyway, in response to Duncan: The pasta gate was a farce which they admitted, Radio Canada name changing was nonsense as well and the name will not be changed. At least they can admit their mistakes.

    I am an anglo living in Montreal. And I think Montreal is a great city and I definitely feel part of it. I also am of German descent and think you are harsh when comparing Pauline Marois to Hitler. My parents fled Germany after the war and I feel your comparison out of proportion. Hitler was a monster. Don’t think Marois has the intention of sending us off to camps.

    And by the way, Phil do you ever try to parler français…? Your opinion is all the french should speak english and all the english speak english. Does all this Quebec bashing make you feel superior?…. very canadian of you. Last I remembered this was supposed to be a bilingual country. I’m sure the french appreciated your comments. I certainly didn’t!

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