June 15, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Quebec/ Canada (June 15, 2013): According to a CTV news: “[a]dopting an apologetic tone, the Quebec Soccer Federation has lifted its ban on players wearing turbans, patkas and keskis on the pitch”.
QSF director general Brigitte Frot reportedly announced the reversal of the contentious ban during a news conference on the morning of June 15, 2013.
“Since the beginning we were waiting for official advice that FIFA authorized wearing turbans,” she reportedly said.
That clarification came Friday, when FIFA said it permits players in Canada to wear the Sikh headwear.
“It has been our intention from the onset to get a confirmation that the FIFA allowed wearing of turbans, patkas or keskis,” Frot reportedly said in a statement.
“We are very happy that the FIFA responded to our request and by the same token dispelled ambiguities created by a lack of clarification.”
In the statement, Frot said that the ban was made strictly from a technical standpoint, and “had absolutely nothing to do with religious matters or political issues.”
“We were unwillingly led to this path while we were only trying to get information on a regulation issue that falls under the body that governs our sport,” she said.
“We sometimes had difficulty communicating our intentions over the last few days. If we have offended or appalled some people, please know that it was not intentional nor voluntary and we are deeply sorry.”
The Quebec federation had previously maintained that the ban was made out of safety concerns, as well as the fact that FIFA had not specifically endorsed the headwear.
Frot, who had initially said that Sikh players banned from the province’s soccer fields should “play in their backyards” instead, said Saturday that FIFA made the QSF policy decision an easy one.
“FIFA is like God, they decide the rules,” she said. “I’m happy to say to them that now they can play soccer in Quebec, there’s no problem.”
According to FIFA, wearing turbans is permitted so long as players meet the following conditions:
– Headwear is the same colour as the player’s jersey
– Cannot be attached to the player’s jersey
– Not pose any danger to the player or others players
– Maintain a professional appearance
It is notable that earlier in the week, the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) had suspended QSF over the turban ban.
In a bid to have the suspension lifted, Frot said the QSF has sent a letter to the national association letting them know that the turban ban is no longer in effect.
It may be recalled that the ban imposed on turban by QSF drew widespread criticism from a number of politicians and sporting associations.
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Related Topics: Canadian Soccer Association, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Quebec Soccer Federation, Sikh News Canada, Sikhs in Quebec