The Quebec Soccer Federation announced Saturday that it reversed its decision to ban Sikh turbans from soccer pitches and as a result, had its suspension lifted from the Canadian Soccer Association.
The QSF's executive committee unanimously passed a motion on Friday to comply with the international governing body of soccer, FIFA, which allowed male players in Canada to wear head covers, said Brigitte Frot, QSF executive director.
Prem Vinning of the World Sikh Organization of Canada told CTV News Channel Saturday that the Sikh community in Quebec was “relieved” the ban on players wearing the traditional Sikh turbans, patkas and keskis on the pitch had been dropped.Read more
The provincial federation may have one more hurdle, however. The head of the World Sikh Organization of Canada wants to see registration opened up again to accommodate kids who missed signing up because of the ban.Read more
Mukhbir Singh, vice-president for Quebec and the Atlantic region for the World Sikh Organization, says he’s thankful for FIFA’s stance.
He said the public support has been uplifting and refreshing.Read more
Montreal Gazette: Sikh community cautiously optimistic following FIFA’s statement on turbans in soccer
“I think it goes a long way in clarifying the situation,” World Sikh Organization of Canada legal counsel Balpreet Singh said of the ruling. “Even though it has been our position that it really doesn’t matter what FIFA says because Canadian rules and Canadian law certainly allows the wearing of the turban, it makes it clear that FIFA also doesn’t have a problem with the wearing of the turban.”Read more
“We hope [the Quebec federation] will do the sensible thing and lift the ban,” said Balpreet Singh, spokesman for the World Sikh Organization of Canada. “We look forward to the day when all children can play soccer regardless of their faith and background. At the end of the day, it was really about letting these kids play with their friends. It confuses us why it had to go this far.” He noted that registration for organized soccer is over and hoped the deadline would be extended to allow Sikh children around Montreal to return to the field.Read more
“This announcement is certainly good news; it’s absolutely clear now that any restriction on the wearing of the turban is illegitimate, and we’re hopeful the Quebec Soccer Federation will now immediately lift its ban,” Balpreet Singh, a lawyer for the World Sikh Organization of Canada, said in a statement. “The children should really be allowed to play as soon as possible.”Read more
The World Sikh Organization of Canada said earlier it was considering a legal challenge, but said the season was already lost for many young players, as the registration deadline had passed.Read more
Balpreet Singh, head of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, told The Gazette that the soccer association’s latest position is a repeat, albeit more strongly worded, of a directive it had issued in April to all Canadian referees to allow soccer players with religious headgear.Read more
The QSF wrote in a prepared release that the ban was “solely from a technical point of view and had absolutely nothing to do with religious matters or political issues.”
One of Canada’s leading Sikh figures said he was willing to give the QSF the benefit of the doubt.
“I’m going to take them for their word,” said Prem Vinning, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada. “We’ve dealt with the issue. Let’s move forward let’s unite all Canadians. Canada is stronger when we all come together.”Read more