WSO Statement on Lifting of Quebec Soccer Turban Ban

Ottawa (June 15, 2013):  It was announced today by the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) that it will immediately lift its ban on the wearing of turbans by Sikh players.  The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes the long overdue move and hopes Sikh children who had previously been excluded will now be given the chance to rejoin their friends on the pitch. 

The QSF’s announcement follows yesterday’s statement from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA expressly authorizing the wearing of male head covers in all areas and on all levels of Canadian soccer.

WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “the lifting of the turban ban by the QSF was long overdue.  Common sense would dictate that if the turban is worn on soccer pitches across Canada without incident and was worn even in Quebec for many years prior to 2012, it can and should be permitted.  It’s unfortunate that it took this long and this much effort for the QSF to realize that Sikh children should be allowed to play.”

WSO had initially written to the QSF about its prohibition on religious headgear in June 2011, which was followed by several subsequent attempts.  The WSO’s most recent letter requesting a dialogue with the QSF was sent on June 6, 2013.  No reply has ever been received from the QSF.

WSO Vice President for Quebec Mukhbir Singh said, “while it’s certainly good news that the ban on the turban has been lifted by the QSF, we hope that those Sikh children who were not able to register for this season because of the ban will now be given an opportunity to do so.  It would be incredibly unfortunate if despite the lifting of this ban, Sikh children in places like Lasalle will have to sit out another season because registration has now been closed.”  

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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For more information, please contact:

Balpreet Singh

Legal Counsel

416-904-9110

balpreetsingh@worldsikh.org