Turbans banned on Quebec soccer fields
The Quebec Soccer Federation is forbidding turbans on the field of play, despite a directive from the Canadian Soccer Association saying turbans are okay.
For years, Sikh soccer players in Quebec were allowed to wear turbans, but last year the province’s soccer federation began to crack down.
At the time, the federation said it was only following the lead of the international soccer governing body FIFA and its Canadian counterpart.
FIFA still has yet to make a clear ruling on the issue.
Last week, the Canadian Soccer Association asked provincial soccer associations to allow turbans on the field.
But Quebec is still refusing to play ball.
Balpreet Singh, legal counsel for the the World Sikh Organization for Canada, said young Sikhs in Quebec are being unfairly punished.
In the past the organization has called the turban ban a violation of human rights law.
"For them to be excluded, it's really tragic I think," Singh said.
"It's really breaking down relationships that should be being built during childhood."
The Quebec association has declined to comment on the issue. Representatives did confirm that the policy would be reviewed at an upcoming meeting in the next few months.
But Singh said by then it will be too late for many young soccer enthusiasts.
"Registration for the next season has begun, and if it's going to take several months to be resolved, that means another season will go by where Sikh kids are unable to join their colleagues."
Singh said Quebec is the only province where the turban seems to be a problem for soccer players.