The FSQ and safety: a prelude to the turban wars

The FSQ was against safety before it was for it

As you’ve probably heard, the Fédération du soccer du Québec recently banned the wearing of turbans due to safety concerns. As I argued here, the issue is hardly safety-related. But let’s take the FSQ at its word for a moment and pretend Brigitte Frot was genuinely concerned about safety when the FSQ Director-General said Sikh kids could play soccer “in their backyard” if they wanted to wear turbans.

How, then, to explain a 2009 FSQ decision to not compel the province’s indoor soccer facilities to pad their walls?

A pair of Quebec neurosurgeons proposed doing as much after two soccer players suffered cranial injuries after colliding into walls within a six-month period. One man lost his life. Yet the FSQ, which has shown itself adept at tackling the theoretical danger of a turban, wasn’t nearly as eager to address a real one. “We have 200,000 members,” Frot said at the time, “and there are many others who play soccer in school or elsewhere. Without minimizing what happened, there are very, very few cases such as these.”

“There’s never been sufficient accidents to warrant the covering of walls,” Frot added.

There you have it, soccer players: in Quebec, your head and the walls will remain uncovered.