Jump to content

B.C. Soccer refrees to be re-educated on Turbans !

Recommended Posts



B.C. soccer referees to be re-educated on turbans

Tournament officials 'misinterpreted' rules

Ethan BaronThe Province

September 6, 2005

Provincial soccer officials will notify all referees that Sikh players can wear turbans on the field, after a number of boys were prohibited from playing over the weekend.

Referees who told Langley tournament players they couldn't wear turbans may have misinterpreted B.C. Soccer Association rules, said the group's president, Victor Montagliani.

"Unfortunately, this is an issue that when you misinterpret it, it doesn't go well," Montagliani said.

"We do not have a rule that bans religious headgear."

Langley referees and tournament officials said Sunday that referees had been advised during refresher courses that a new international soccer federation rule forbids turbans on the playing field. Because the B.C. Soccer Association goes by the federation's rules, turbans were banned here, the referees were reportedly told.

Montagliani said it's unclear who was giving referees that incorrect information.

"We'll be meeting with the people that are involved over the next week or two and finding out exactly what happened," he said.

Association officials will advise the 2,000 volunteer referees, along with those who train and certify referees, that turbans are allowed, he said.

The soccer federation Laws of the Game do not prohibit turbans.

Weekend media reports on the banning of turbaned players generated a strong response yesterday from the Sikh Youth of B.C.

"This rule of banning turbans in soccer tournaments is absolutely unacceptable in our multicultural Canadian society and, furthermore, the turban is an integral part of the Sikh identity," the group said in a letter to the B.C. Soccer Association.

"We are extremely disappointed with the tournament organizers and the B.C. Soccer Association, and we will encourage all the members of our community to voice their complaint against this organization."

Once the association made it clear players can wear turbans, the Sikh community applauded.

"The decision is very good if they're going to tell all the referees," said Sohan Singh Deo, spokesman for the Ross Street Temple in Vancouver.

B.C. Soccer executive directorKeith Ryan noted that there are 101,000 registered youth players in B.C., coming from many cultures.

"We have a great relationship with the Indo-Canadian community," Ryan said.

"Our rules support the safety of players but they do not support the discrimination against players."


- - -


The Laws of the Game, according to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), do not ban religious headgear:

"A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself/herself or another player.

"Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks, knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight, padded material are not considered to be dangerous and are therefore permitted."

© The Vancouver Province 2005

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Sikh youths deserve an apology for their soccer humiliation

The Province

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

For the past several years, Indo-Canadian youths taking part in the annual Langley Labour Day soccer tournament have worn their traditional headgear without incident.

Why then, last weekend, did officials of the B.C. Soccer Association suddenly change their minds, refusing to allow the players on the field unless they removed their turbans?

The result was an unpleasant confrontation between players and officials, leading to the cancellation of some half-a-dozen games.

The association now says it was all a mistake; that the officials involved had wrongly interpreted the rules which, in fact, place no restrictions whatever on Sikh headgear.

The assurances came too late to head off a strongly worded protest from the Sikh Youth of B.C., pointing out that the turban is "an integral part of the Sikh identity" and that any ban on it is "unacceptable in our multicultural Canadian society."

Sikh Youth later happily applauded the association's back-pedalling, but by then the story had made headlines across Canada and the damage to the tournament's image had been done.

Sikhs in Canada have fought long and hard -- all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada -- to establish their right to wear their religious symbols. It must be tiresome for them to have to fight their battles all over again. A little more sensitivity on the part of a few individuals would have spared them this fresh humiliation. The players deserve a full and unreserved apology.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...