Canadian Soccer Association Okays Sikh players Wearing Turban But “Racist” Quebec Soccer Federation Continues To Ban Turbaned Players


TORONTO –  The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO)which has been fighting the Sikh headgear battle with the Canadian Soccer Associations was elated to learn that Sikh players wearing turban would now be accommodated on the soccer pitch after Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) directed to soccer associations and referees across the country stop banning turbaned players.

But the elation was short lived as Quebec’s racist Soccer Federation said they will ignore the CSA directive and continue to ban turbaned players

WSO said it was disappointed by the refusal of the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) to adopt a direction from the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) to allow Sikh players to wear turbans.

The Quebec Federation however has stated that it will not accommodate the turban and will send the issue to its provincial referees’ committee, which will make a recommendation to the federation’s executive committee in the coming months.

As soccer registration has already begun for the summer season, the QSF’s delay in implementing the turban accommodation will mean Sikh children will be excluded for a second consecutive season.

No other soccer association in Canada restricts the turban.

Reacting to the decision of the QSF to continue to exclude the turban, WSO Vice-President  (Quebec & Atlantic Region) Mukhbir Singh said, “the CSA, of which the QSF is a member, has clarified that the turban can be worn . The QSF decision to continue to exclude the turban means Sikh children in Quebec will miss another season of soccer with their peers.  I cannot see any logic in the QSF’s agreeing to allow headscarves for girls but refusing to allow turbans for boys. “

On its website, the QSF states that “the role of the Soccer Federation is to enforce the rules and guidelines set by FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association.”

WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “we fail to see what is so complicated about allowing Sikh children to play with their peers.  What purpose does the QSF restriction on the turban serve?  There is no conceivable justification for this.  If there are genuine concerns, we are open to dialogue but if this situation is not quickly resolved, the real victims will be the children.”

Vinning had earlier hailed the CSA accomodation, “The accommodation of the turban already takes place not just across Canada but across the world. There is no reason why the turban can’t be accommodated. We’re glad the CSA has clarified the issue for referees and has hopefully resolved this matter for good.”

He said that CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli, had advised the WSO that in light of the decision of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow headscarves for players, and in response to inquiries by referees, the CSA Board of Directors has confirmed that “referees may, until further notice, extend this ruling to the wearing of turbans/patkas/keski.” Notice of this decision was sent out to the CSA’s provincial and territorial members across Canada late last week, said he.