Quebec Soccer Federation Falls Silent as Outrage Grows

Katherine Wilton, Montreal Gazette, June 5, 2013

Canadian Sikh leaders say they’re bewildered by the Quebec Soccer Federation’s decision to ban religious headgear from soccer pitches and say the federation has repeatedly ignored their requests for meetings to try to resolve the issue amicably.

“We have made several phone calls that have never been returned and sent a registered letter that was not responded to,” said Balpreet Singh, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada

“We have never had any contact from the Quebec Soccer Federation.”

After taking heat for several days since voting on the weekend to maintain a ban on turbans, smaller turbans called keskis and patkas, small pieces of cloth tied on top of the head, the soccer federation was silent on the matter Tuesday.

“We are not making any more comments on the subject,” said Michel Dugas, the federation’s spokesperson.

Singh said his organization was offended by comments made by federation president Brigitte Frot, who said that Sikh children could play soccer in their backyards if they want to wear a turban.

Singh said the comment was insensitive.

“We don’t want to ghettoize ourselves — soccer is about building relationships,” he said.

Singh said he only learned about the results of Saturday’s vote after a reporter sent him the soccer federation’s press release.

“I think it is irresponsible and it looks like bad faith, frankly,” he said of the federation’s decision not to notify the Sikh organization.

Quebec referees began cracking down on players wearing turbans last year. The soccer federation maintains that the ban is an issue of player safety, but said it knows of no injuries that have resulted from boys wearing headgear.

FIFA, the sports governing body, ruled last year that Muslim girls can wear sport hijabs on a trial basis while it studies the question of headgear. A final decision on sport hijabs will be made by FIFA next March.

Singh said he doesn’t expect FIFA to make any rulings on Sikh headgear until then.

Even if the Quebec federation had decided to follow a directive from the Canadian Soccer Association, which said in April that turbans were allowed on the pitch, it would have come too late for many young Sikh soccer players who want to play this summer.

The LaSalle soccer association has a message up on its website saying that registrations “are now closed.”

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Hunter Morrow

    Forget about the turbans for a moment. Would they let them play with kirpas, their racial and religious sacramental Bowie knives? When do you draw the line?

    • Reluctant Canuckistani

      In Canada that line is well past the horizon.

      Money quote: The kirpan is banned in France, Denmark and some U.S. states. It is
      allowed in most public places throughout Canada, including schools.

      • Avenger

        About 10 years ago, a group of Sikhs were allowed to attend a hearing of the Supreme Court of Canada, wearing such Kirpans. That’s when a lot of Canadians realized how big a deal the issue was, how the Charter was being used by minority groups to reproduce their alien way of life in Canada (even if it should become a potential physical threat to others).

        • Gereng

          Again, I must say from my observations of Sikhs in India, they do not wear that knife/sword thing except on their own turf at ceremonies of some kind. In fact I think India law forbids this knife to be carried.

          • Avenger

            Yes, just like in Muslim countries, devout muslims do not necessarily pray in the Streets 5 times each day, as in Paris… But the foreigners know very well that the leftists and multiculturalists do not know this, and do not bother to check, taking everything immigrants say at face value.
            This is stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

          • Gereng

            I worked in 6 Muslim nations. Except for noon prayers on Friday where occasionally one might see some spill over from a mosque, praying was never done in groups in the streets. The devout prayed where they worked, almost always singly, rarely in a group of 2 or 3. The Muslim street praying in white Christian nations are just another way to stick it good and hard to Ol’ Goofus.

    • Morris LeChat

      or slushies?

    • sbuffalonative

      If they can play without their knives, they can play without their turbans.

    • Morris LeChat

      or even slushies

  • IstvanIN

    Why can’t they play soccer in Sikhistan?

    • Unperson

      They prefer to play in Canada because in First World countries soccer is played with real, inflatable, regulation-size soccer balls. Because back in the old country, kicking around the traditional Third World version of the soccer ball — your slain enemy’s severed head wrapped in a bloodstained burlap sack — is really rough on the players’ feet.

      • Erasmus

        …not to even mention your enemy’s severed head.

  • ed

    why is it a problem if they wear a turban?

    as hilary would say, “what difference does it make”?

    • The__Bobster

      Because of what they can hide under it. Besides, how does a Punjab head the ball while wearing one?

      • Avenger

        Sounds impossible to perform, really!

    • me


    • François

      It should be the same rules and the same uniform for all players. There have been safety concerns, too.

  • bigone4u

    No group wants to assimilate anymore. I was taught that old homily, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” So, if I visit another country I would want to show respect by following its customs. But I was taught manners and raised right, as were immigrants of yore from white countries who came to the USA. The losers we bring in today have no decency, no money, few skills, little intelligence, and no respect for our way of life. Stay in your homelands, you people.

    • The__Bobster

      TPTB have taught all non-Whites that’s there’s an advantage in not assimilating. Well, the joke’s on them. They’ll be easier to remove if they don’t.

  • Danimalius

    “We don’t want to ghettoize ourselves — soccer is about building relationships,” he said.

    So says the settler, who knows that he can be as exclusive as he wants in these western lands without offending the colonized.

  • soccer is about building relationships

    I always thought soccer was about scoring more goals than the other team.

    But, in today’s world, everything has to be reduced to Hallmark card and bumper sticker sensibilities.

    • Paleoconn

      Spot on QD, this inane quote made me laugh. I say let them start a league of their own and they can bring kirpans and turbans and any other stuff to the game.

  • The__Bobster

    One item in diversity bliss is the decree from Sacramento, signed by Gov Jerry Brown into law in September, that Sikh history would be taught as a part of the curriculum in California schools. School superintendent Tom Torlakson visited a middle school on Saturday to proclaim the good news of expanded mandatory education about diversity, the state religion.

    Too bad a violent Sikh-on-Sikh ethnic rumble occurred the very same day — unfortunate timing, that.

    • Avenger

      Sikh history? Come on! Too many kids have poor knowledge of the history of their own (Western) country, these days, and that Jerry Brown character wants teachers to devote precious time, in class, to SIKH HISTORY?!?

      Am I having a nightmare?

      • itdoesnotmatter

        No, Avenger it’s no nightmare. It’s Gov. Moonbeam Brown’s antics, once again visited upon the disappearing state of Mexsikhmuslifornia.

        I long for a 10 Richter scale earthquake.

        • Avenger

          Simply ridiculous! Jerry Brown shows very, very poor judgement. Plus, he should grow a spine, I think.

  • Morris LeChat

    they should stick to running convenience stores

    • OlderWoman

      In L.A. we called them Q-tips.

  • MikeS

    I say cut a hole in the soccer ball and put it on their heads. There, problem solved.

  • guest

    We have muslims complaining when they can’t wear their hijabs on their driver’s licenses or at work, and now we have sikhs complaining because they can’t wear their turbans in a soccer game? These immigrants come to westernized countries only to try to changes things as they see fit. All they care about is having things done their way and no matter how much is given to them, they are never satisfied.

    I’m not from Canada, but I’ve heard that some Canadians like their country’s policies that promote multiculturalism and some of them hate it. I just wonder if there will ever be a point when those who do like it think “Enough is enough.”

  • MBlanc46

    I’ve known some fine Sikh people and can understand their desire to get the hell out of India. Which is not to say that I think we should be importing them by the million. But those who come, whoever the are, to the US should become Americans. Those who go to Canada should become Canadians. If you don’t want to become one of us, don’t come.

    • gemjunior

      I feel sorry for all the people having the misfortune to be born poor in the third world, compared to myself having the good fortune to be born in the wealthiest country in the world with all the modern conveniences. But I don’t feel sorry enough to let one more of them into this country, where they’ve shown how they’re wont to behave exactly the same as they do at home in their crappy countries. Litter there? Then by all means, litter here if it makes you feel at home, even though there are garbage cans on every corner. And that’s just one small example.
      About two centuries ago, my ancestors suffered extreme poverty in what was then a third world country. They had no money to get out. In the 1950s they managed to get here and nobody knows the difference – they became fully American. English speaking, they worked hard to fit in and lose their accents. And nobody was there back in the third world back then to hold their hand or rescue them. Tough, that’s just the way it is sometimes.
      The Sikhs can stay exactly where they are and so can everyone else. No more.

      • MBlanc46

        I agree 100%.

    • Gereng

      That is their country! Most Sikhs do quite well there. They are a big presence in the military and police and in agriculture and engineering. They practice their religion and culture without much interference from orthodox Hindus or anyone else. Once in awhile, the Hindus will have a go at them. But generally they fit right in with the rest of the sub-continent crazies. They have no intention of assimilating here. They will be just another exclusive, non-melting, non-American lump of foreigners forever screaming for special treatment and various dispensations. If this diversity shxt continues another 20 yrs, America will totally disappear and in its place a sort of India will take it place. America will become a Babel of competing languages, religions, and cultures and a rising dictatorship to keep this Heaven of diverse people from murdering each other.

      • MBlanc46

        India is a hellhole, which is why millions of Indians — Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and whatever other dingbat religions they have — have gotten out of India, and why millions more want to.

        • Gereng

          True enough. And it is the very diversity in India by tribe and Caste, religion and language , etc. that makes it a hellish mess.

          • MBlanc46

            Indeed, that is one of the factors.

  • Erasmus

    Look: Sikhs already get to wear their turbans when they’re driving cabs and running convenience stores. If they don’t like that a private soccer federation will not allow them to wear their turbans when they play soccer, let them go back to Mother India. We really don’t need (or want) them here.

  • Bob Jenkins

    Isn’t the very essence of “ghettoization” made up of immigrants who don’t assimilate? Leave your damn turbans on the sidelines and perhaps you won’t have to “ghettoize”!

  • mobilebay

    Evidently, the Sikhs and Muslims have been taking “Entitlement” lessons from the Mexicans.

  • Gereng

    I lived and worked in India (197-72) and saw Sikhs playing games many times. Mostly soccer, field hockey and cricket. Adult Sikhs DO NOT wear turbans in their country when they play games. They tie their long (greasy and unwashed) hair up in a sort of top knot with a small hanky around the knot. Just as Sikh teenagers do when they play sports, They are shoving their culture in white Christian Canadian faces with these kinds of outrageous demands.

  • Paleoconn

    So Quebec still has a few vertebrae left