TORONTO, April 23, 2013 /CNW/ - Last week, despite a ruling from the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) that Sikhs wearing sport turbans could play in soccer in games under their aegis, the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) has decided not to implement this directive.
The facts of the matter are that the international governing body of soccer, FIFA modified its rules in 2012 to allow girls to wear hijabs of an acceptable design while playing soccer. This was also a matter of controversy in Quebec before that ruling.
The issue of turbans has yet to be ruled on definitively by FIFA but given the previous ruling on hijabs, it is likely that some similar approach would be adopted, as the CSA has already done.
The usual standard applied in such cases is whether the wearing of the turban poses a health or safety risk to the wearer or others or whether it gives the wearer an unfair advantage.
Current evidence suggests that neither of these conditions apply to the type of turbans Sikh players have been allowed to wear in soccer in this and other countries.
"A sense of belonging to one's society is deepened by being able to participate in public activities such as sports. We urge the QSF to examine its decisions based on the facts to ensure that the rights of religious minorities in the public space are not discriminated against," said Rubin Friedman, Principal Operating Officer of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF)
The CRRF, a leading resource and facilitator on issues of race relations, is currently carrying out a national project on Interfaith and Belonging, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
SOURCE: Canadian Race Relations Foundation
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