Quebec soccer association upholds ban on turbans on the playing field


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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Quebec soccer association upholds ban on turbans on the playing field

  1. A human rights commission would almost certainly strike this down. On behalf of Canadians, I salute our provincial and federal human rights commissions for the good work they do and carrying on in the face of blatant mistruths spead far and wide about them.

  2. I find it strange that the segment of the Canadian population that whines the most about having their culture undermined in the first in line to dump on even smaller segments of Canadian society.

    What is wrong with French Canadians? They are never happier than when they can dump on others who are preferably not white and not christian.

    • Wanna bet? One day, I got really sick of how people kept accusing me of being ‘French’ and doing things like scratching the French writing on public posters, and saying dumb things like “You’re okay. But I don’t like French Canadians”. I took a class in Black Politics once – quite interesting – and remembered the words of MLK: especially the part where he said to judge people by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. The results are stunning! All you have to do is change the ‘colour of skin’ part to pretty much everything else – Imagine how many people will actually bother to take you seriously, the second you bother to take them on one by one – Instead of all of them in one big group … seriously! I don’t even know why I bother … seen as I bet you anything you don’t even know how to speak or read or write French. But I know how to do all three in both official languages. Because, unlike you, I have to …

      • And you never addressed the point, just played the victim. I will make one amendment to my comment though. I’ll substitute French Quebecer for Canadian.

        Please don’t lump me in with any historic grievances you have, I’m a recently approved Canadian, not in Anglo with historic grudges.

        • Uhm … you said this: “What is wrong with French Canadians? They are never happier than when they can dump on others who are preferably not white and not christian.” and this is what I was responding to. I prefer the term “giving me license to stand up for myself as a French Canadian” rather than “victim”. A victim would not bother. Hence, if anyone approaches you with any glitter of resentment about whoever you are or whatever you believe in, I sincerely hope you do not hesitate to make your stand. As for addressing the point, I read, I agree: no one should be told they can’t participate. Especially when they’re children. It’s confusing at the least: to be told, this is who we are and in the same breath ‘but because you are who you are you can’t play with the other children’. Completely unfair.

          • It’s just I notice the PQ, BQ and other municipal authorities who complain that their culture is not being given enough respect, even though a disproportionate amount of Canadian resources are directed towards Quebec and French Canadians, then rejoice in denying smaller minorities the same respect shown them. Hérouxville appears to be an example of how to treat those unlike the French in Quebec.

            No hijabs, no turbans but crosses are okay.

            The Quebec Soccer authorities are the only ones not to respect the CSA’s directive to allow players to play with Sikh headgear.

            It’s hard not to suspect that racism and intolerance is the reason for this.

          • Actually, to be fair, it’s rather that the same amount of resources are given to the French that are given to the English and that is solely because Canada is bilingual. Nothing more. As for the CSA directive, in all honesty, it’s probably because it is a CSA directive that the Québec government won’t take it. As for Hérouxville, I can’t explain their behaviour – I grew up in a small town much like that just north of Québec city – it was only when I moved that I met people who were not French, White, or Christian. But it’s eroneous to think that someone else’s lifestyle would change who I am as a person. It’s like expecting a Muslim, Jewish or Sikh person to stop being who they are because they’re surrounded by Christians. It appears, though, that the Soccer Authorities in Québec are relying on FIFA as a whole – being the worldwide organization – for a response rather than the Canadian one. So, if it is a ‘world organization’ standpoint, then that is equally disturbing. When the issue of the Sari – or woman’s headdress – was first announced, it made a little more sense because people were concerned about injuries. I believe the rule changed because someone came up with a headdress for women that was ‘safer’. But I fail to see how the ‘knot’ – I don’t know what it’s called – on a Sikh child’s head – or a full turban could cause injury. So, yeah … unless someone comes up with a reasonable answer … it does sound intolerant. Mind you, if they were trying to bring the ‘sword’ on the soccer field, I would equally object. But I doubt the Sikh would do that …

          • My background also has ceremonial occasions whereby we wear a little dagger and we wouldn’t do that. The FIFA angle is just an excuse for the FSQ to use the minority kids as a football (no pun intended) to thumb their noses at CSA. They probably regard them as the Anglo enemy trying to tell them what to do and that makes their victimisation of the Sikh kids even more reprehensible in my mind.
            The CSA should suspend them from their association and report them to FIFA as suspended. Then no Quebec official, player or referee would be in good standing. But that won’t happen because national rules appear not to apply in Quebec.

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