TORONTO: The Canadian Soccer Association on Monday suspended the Quebec Soccer Federation for its refusal to allow the wearing of turbans, patkas, keski by Sikh soccer players on the pitch.
The Quebec Soccer Federation has been adamant that Sikh players wearing turbans and patkas cannot play. There are about 100 to 200 Sikhs in Quebec who play soccer with turbans and patkas.
The ban drew condemnation from political parties and the federal government, but the Quebec Soccer Federation refused to budge. Last week, the Canadian Soccer Association had asked the Quebec body to reverse the ban, but to no avail.
In a statement announcing the suspension, Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani said, “The Canadian Soccer Association has requested on June 6 that the Quebec Soccer Federation reverse its position on turbans/patkas/keski with no resolution. 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.’’
The suspension will remain in force till the Quebec Soccer Federation lifts the ban.
Welcoming the ban, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tweeted, “Good to see CDN Soccer Association take action against the Quebec Soccer Federation over its ridiculous turban ban.’’
The World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada, which has been protesting for the lifting of the ban, expressed its sadness over the decision of the Canadian Soccer Association to suspend the Quebec Soccer Federation.
In a statement, WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “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. This entire episode has been completely unnecessary and senseless. Let all players play. It’s as simple as that. Our repeated attempts to reach out have been unsuccessful, but we call on the QSF to immediately lift their ban on the turban for the sake of all soccer players in Quebec.’’