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WSO reacts to suspension of Quebec Soccer Federation

June 11, 2013 | By

Ottawa (June 10, 2013): The World Sikh Organization of Canada reacts with sadness to the decision of the Canadian Soccer Association to suspend the Quebec Soccer Federation for their refusal to allow the wearing of Sikh turbans for soccer players. According to the CSA, the suspension will be lifted once the QSF ends its ban on the turban.

Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) had uphold turban ban; Now Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) has suspended QSF until it revokes turban Ban

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.”

On June 6th, Mr. Vinning had sent a letter to the QSF requesting for a review of the decision to uphold the ban on the turban and for a dialogue to address any concerns the QSF may have with respect to safety. [Original French and English version of Mr. Vinning’s letter follows below this statement]

No response has been received from the QSF.

WSO’s first letter to the QSF addressing the issue of the accommodation of religious headdress on the soccer pitch was sent on June 21, 2011 which has been followed up on several occasions by phone calls and a registered letter. No response was ever received from the QSF.

WSO legal counsel Balpreet Singh said, “this situation could easily have been resolved through open discussion and dialogue. We are at a loss as to why the QSF has refused to simply talk to us. In the absence of a dialogue, we will have to look at every alternative option, including legal action against the QSF.”

WSO Vice President for Quebec Mukhbir Singh added, “we want to see this situation resolve immediately. We hope that better sense will prevail so that all Quebec children can play with their friends. In the interest of all players, the QSF should reconsider its earlier decision to ban the turban.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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