Thursday, June 06, 2013

Quebec Soccer Federation Bans Sikh Turbans; Federal Officials Criticize Move

In Canada, the Quebec Soccer Federation has created controversy by deciding last week end to uphold its ban on Sikh boys wearing turbans on the soccer fields.  The Montreal Gazette reported Tuesday:
Quebec referees began cracking down in the last year on turbans, patkas and keskis, the religious headgear worn by Sikh men and boys.
The weekend decision to uphold the ban occurred despite a directive from the Canadian Soccer Association in April, calling for provincial associations to allow them by extending an existing rule that allows Islamic hijabs for girls.
Quebec is the only province that has balked at the directive.
The Soccer Federation sent a memo (full text in French) to referees on Tuesday telling them that they are required to enforce the ban.  The Province reported yesterday that Canadian federal officials are strongly criticizing the turban ban.

UPDATE: RNS reports:
The Quebec Soccer Federation lifted the ban Saturday (June 15), a day after the Canadian Soccer Association sent out word that FIFA, the international governing body, approved the headgear. But allegations of religious intolerance and racism still linger.