Kids Corner


Soccer's International Governing Body Sets It Straight For Quebec

Based on report by THE CANADIAN PRESS




Soccer’s international rule-making body has given a final go-ahead to allow players to wear religious head coverings during games, clarifying an issue that saw the resurgence of state-orchestrated bigotry in Quebec last summer.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) panel known as the International Football Association Board made the decision on Saturday, February 28, 2014, extending a two-year trial period during turbans, patkas, kippas and hijabs were permitted.

Last year, Quebec’s soccer federation set off a political firestorm -- and was suspended by the Canadian Soccer Association -- for enforcing an inexplicable ban on turbans and other religious headwear.

The Quebec bureaucrats were allowed back into the Soccer arena after it lifted its ban, citing FIFA's reminder that such headwear was acceptable.

A spokesman for the Quebec Soccer Federation now says that it is 'satisfied' with the decision and will now, unlike its earlier pattern of behaviour, follow the rules.

“All we’ve wanted, for years, is to have a clear position (from FIFA) and rules to follow, and now we know what to do, and we’ll do it,” said a cornered Michel Dugas sheepishly.

The decision on head coverings follows extra trials after a July 2012 decision to approve scarves worn by Islamic female players.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Saturday’s decision extended to male players following a request from Sikh community leaders in Canada to spell out the rules clearly and in simple, straight-forward terms for the Quebec bureaucrats.

“You cannot have discrimination,” Valcke said at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland. “It was decided that what can apply to female players can also apply to men.”

Last year, the Quebec organization had cited safety issues for its controversial move as well as the fact the garments were not endorsed by FIFA, without explaining how and why safety was in issue.

The Parti Quebecois government -- much criticized worldwide for its attempt to politicize sports in order to further its own, narrow agenda and for using the soccer federation as a front for its own right-wing policies -- came out in favour of the Quebec federation’s racist position, while many federal politicians slammed it as exclusionary and un-Canadian.

Dugas however unabashedly maintains that the federation wasn’t trying to create problems and only wanted to get clarity from FIFA.

“It’s a debate that isn’t easy, and that’s probably why it took so long,” he said.

Even though the rest of the world had come around long before! 


[Edited for]

March 3, 2014


Conversation about this article

1: Harinder (Punjab), March 03, 2014, 3:10 PM.

Here comes our Maradona Singh.

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