Canadian province refuses to lift turban ban on footballers
Sikh soccer players in the Canadian province of Quebec will have to sit out after the local soccer federation decided to keep the ban on turbans, angering the community members who are now considering taking legal action.Updated: Jun 03, 2013, 23:31 IST
Sikh soccer players in the Canadian province of Quebec will have to sit out after the local soccer federation decided to keep the ban on turbans, angering the community members who are now considering taking legal action.
The federation on Sunday announced that its board of directors had decided to continue with the turban ban.
The latest move comes despite a directive from the Canadian Soccer Association in April calling for provincial associations to allow them.
Quebec referees began cracking down on turbans and patkas last year.
In a statement, the Quebec federation cited safety concerns and said its decision to keep the ban was in line with the international soccer organisation, FIFA.
The federation said it would lift the ban immediately if FIFA did.
For now, Quebec referees who don't apply the rule could face penalty.
Balpreet Singh, a spokesman for the World Sikh Organisation of Canada, said Quebec was the only province where Sikh soccer players had faced problems because they wore the turban.
He said FIFA was responsible for major international tournaments, while the Quebec Soccer Federation oversaw recreational leagues.
"We're talking about kids having fun," Singh said. The organisation is exploring options and is considering taking legal action, he added.