Canadian Soccer Association says FIFA onside in opposing Quebec’s turban ban

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew

And now, Quebec really does stand alone in its stance against turbans being worn in the game of soccer.

The Canadian Press reports that the Canadian Soccer Association has sent a letter to its provincial counterparts that it reached out of FIFA, the game's international body, and the International Football Association Board, and that both have authorized the wearing of male head covers.

The Canadian Press writes:

The letter says the headwear must be the same colour as the jersey, look professional, must not be attached to the jersey, and not pose any danger to any players.

It was FIFA's hesitancy to allow head gear that the Quebec Soccer Federation hid behind when it outlawed the use of turbans in youth soccer.

It was a stance that flew in the face of Canada's soccer body and the rest of the provinces, and earned Quebec a banning from national games. Twenty teams from across Canada have pulled out of a weekend tournament in Montreal as a result.

It was also a decision that many felt was politically motivated, or at least supported by Quebec leaders for political purposes.

Parti Quebecois Premier Pauline Marois ranted on the autonomy of the province's soccer federation and sounded a lot like she was gearing up to call for Quebec separation entirely.

The QSF, meantime, had claimed the turban ban was simply mandated for safety reasons, suggesting that they would stay the course until FIFA changed its own tack.

FIFA has allowed turbans in youth soccer on a temporary basis as it considers removing the ban entirely. It had also previously told the QSF that they should take their marching orders from the national body, not the international one.

The latest revelation comes after the Canadian Soccer Association appealed to FIFA for a ruling and included images of the turbans at the heart of the debate.

It leaves Quebec standing alone in its refusal to allow religious headgear and should put further pressure on the federation to abandon its internationally-embarrassing stance.