Quebec Soccer Federation schedules emergency meeting on turban ban


The Quebec Soccer Federation was set to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday evening to discuss its ban on turbans, a controversial ruling that has drawn international attention and led to the organization’s suspension from the Canadian Soccer Association.

The meeting was to be closed to the public. The federation has said it will issue a statement Wednesday.

The Quebec body cited safety concerns when it announced it was upholding the turban ban June 2. It also noted at the time that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) did not have any rules that specifically allow players to wear turbans.

While FIFA has not released an official statement on the ban or the suspension, it did respond to an email from Raghav Sandhu, a Ryerson University student and president of the university’s South Asian Alliance group. As reported by the Canadian Press, FIFA told Sandhu that it had lifted its previous ban on wearing hijabs and turbans.

“Initially, I thought that they did not have a clear stance on turbans on the soccer pitch, but the e-mail stated the contrary,” said Sandhu, reached by email. “The response was clear in my eyes. FIFA stated that they allowed religious headgear such as the hijab and turban.”

Days after the renewed ban was announced, the Canadian Soccer Association announced it was suspending the Quebec organization. “The Quebec Soccer Federation’s inaction has forced us to take measures in order to ensure soccer remains accessible to the largest number of Canadians,” CSA president Victor Montagliani said. Last week the CSA released a statement saying it wished to ‘strongly reaffirm’ its position allowing soccer players to wear turbans, a position it said it communicated to member organizations this past April.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada has expressed disappointment over the federation’s decision and argued the banning of a religious garment could be considered a violation of human rights. The issue has also gained traction in the international press, garnering coverage in outlets including the BBC and the New York Times. Two petitions are currently circulating on, and another on Care2 has garnered over 2,000 signatures.

The Quebec Soccer Federation has yet to explain its safety concerns. The group has said it can’t afford to fund safety research.

Last year FIFA reversed an earlier ban on the hijab, allowing Muslim women the option of wearing headscarves while playing soccer. The ban was lifted following the creation of two special sport-specific prototypes, including one by Montreal fashion designer Elham Sayed Javad, that allowed the material to be released instantly if pulled around the neck, accommodations that reduced the perceived safety hazard.

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Quebec Soccer Federation schedules emergency meeting on turban ban

  1. The meeting is probably to discuss how they can get out of this and not obey the demands of the rest of the world. In all honesty it wouldn’t surprise me if they pulled the race card and declared that preventing them form discriminating against whoever they want violates Quebec sovereignty or some such.

  2. Amazing to see Quebecois hiding behind their own struggle for freedom in order to excuse their outrageous racism against another group. Really despicable in every sense.

  3. Hope they keep the ban to show them they always cant get hat they want like in the gta area

  4. The spark to split the country would be renewed through soccer?
    [Quebec will get it’s indepence when Karl Peladeau steps up.]

    The rules may not seem politcally correct but they are the laws of the game. I have played, refereed and coach soccer for over a decade, and the Quebec Federation is correct, as stipulated by law 4,

    “A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous
    to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).”

    If a ring or neckless must be taken off, so must a turban.

    Most refs or federations don’t enforce the law 4 judicially, but it remains a law. Check it out for yourself. It’s nothing new, players don’t play with kappas or Takiyas.

    • How can a turban be dangerous to anybody… they might as well run around naked so their clothes don’t hurt them in any way

      • It’s not dangerous, but neither is a bracelet or a gold chain. It’s Law 4, and has been reinterpreted to allow headscarves last summer and according to a FIFA email, will allow turbans as well.

        The funny thing about all this is that a turban holds together firmly all of a sikh male’s extremely long hair as they are not permit to cut it, so actually, it’s safer to wear a turban. FSQ don’t know no that.

    • Behave yourself, you clearly are not as knowledgeable as you claim nor as proficient as a referee.

      Referees do not get to interpret the LoG as they see fit. FIFA and the IFAB decide on law changes and also on their interpretation. These are made known to National Associations who implement them in the country of which they are the regulators. To do this they instruct the Provincial Associations on how they will interpret and enforce the Laws. I’ll say that again for the hard of hearing in Quebec, “The CSA INSTRUCTS Provincial associations on how they will interpret the laws of the game.”

      FIFA does not want anything to do with internal associations that is the job of the CSA. It would be like Essex county Referees wanting to deal directly with FIFA in England.

      The Provincial bodies then instruct referees at the local level in accordance with the national directives via the use of local referees associations and instructors. Individual referees must conform to the national directives on how laws are to be enforced; they don’t get to read the Laws and decide how to interpret them themselves without guidance.

      The CSA has issued guidance on turbans to the FSQ. The FSQ indulged in some fantasy that they are not part of the CSA and have tried to deal directly with FIFA. FIFA have ignored them (for now) and the CSA has suspended them.
      The arrogance and racism of the FSQ has brought this upon themselves.

      So while you can quote the book all you want you are clearly clueless about the structure of world soccer.

      • There is a hierarchy, however the CSA only had a recommendation on turbans. The CSA didn’t have an official position until FSQ made it’s announcement, until that point it was a provincial matter .

        In practice decisions are left to individuals, whether they refs or not.
        A man who is speeding and passes a cop car, may or may not get a ticket; cops don’t enforces the law all of the time, neither do refs.

        • The CSA issued guidance over turbans in March well before this event. Guidance is to be followed when your national body gives it.

          A ref who doesn’t follow the instructions of their Association with respect to safety issues will not be covered by the Association’s insurance. This means that they are liable for any damages personally. The Lightning policy is a good example of this.
          They may get away with cutting corners a lot of the time, but when it goes wrong it’s bad.