Quebec Soccer Federation Suspended Over Turban Ban
The Canadian Soccer Association has sparked a national debate by suspending the Quebec Soccer Federation for prohibiting players from wearing turbans.
The Canadian Soccer Association suspended the Quebec Soccer Federation on Monday for banning the turbans worn by Sikh players.
“The Canadian Soccer Association has requested on June 6 that the Quebec Soccer Federation reverse its position on turbans/patkas/keski with no resolution,” said Victor Montagliani, president of the Canadian Soccer Association, in a statement. “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.”
Canadian Sikh groups estimate the ban has stopped 200 children playing in federated leagues this year, according to BBC News.
The association said that the suspension will be lifted only after the federation removes the ban and “applies satisfactorily the Canadian Soccer Association’s policy in the matter.” The suspension could include Quebec’s all-star teams being banned from play outside the province or the cancellation of games with a nationally certified referee, according to CBC News.
The federation held an emergency meeting of its 18 regional presidents on Tuesday night to discuss the ban, but it has refused to disclose a response or decision, according to CTV. A member of QSF did tell the Ottawa Citizen that the federation’s turban ban was “poorly evaluated” and executed too quickly, and he said he would “push energetically” to convince his fellow members to lift it.
QSF officials voted on June 2 to ban any item not listed as appropriate attire in FIFA’s rulebook, according to the Toronto Sun. Turbans are not on the approved list, but they aren’t explicitly forbidden by the sport’s global governing body. The federation also contends that turbans are “a safety hazard,” BBC News reported.
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois defended the ban, telling Canadian news outlets on June 11 that the QSF is autonomous and “is not bound to the Canadian association.”
Prem Singh Vinning, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, called the drama “completely unnecessary and senseless” in a statement. “Whereas Sikh children were initially the victims of the QSF’s decision to uphold the ban on the turban, it is now doubly unfortunate that so many other soccer players in Quebec will also have to suffer the consequences,” he said in the statement. “Let all players play. It’s as simple as that.”