UPDATED Quebec: Turbines yes, Turbans no


The Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) announced it has reversed its ban on players wearing turbans or related religious headwear on the pitch, saying it is pleased with the international soccer body’s clarification on the issue, and it’s “deeply sorry” if anyone was offended.

Quebec is open to turbines for electricity, but not turbans on soccer fields.

TurbineThe province of Quebec was once known for its vast hydro-electric projects. Currently, pun fully intended, there are 59 hydroelectric facilities across the province that are run by Hydro-Quebec and account for a total installed capacity of 34,490 MW. These monstrous projects harness the flow of water using turbines to create electricity. Aside from supplying the province with power, electricity is sold to other provinces and neighboring states; it has often been said that Quebec electricity powers  the famous lights of Broadway.

… it has often been said that Quebec electricity powers  the famous lights of Broadway

Clearly turbines are most welcome in Quebec, even if the occasional land dispute arises with natives claiming their right to the land upon which the project is to be built. Unfortunately Quebec has recently been in the news not for turbines, but for turbans. The Quebec Soccer Federation decided, for reasons known only to itself, that turbans, in fact any head covering, would not be allowed on soccer fields in the province. This essentially banned Sikhs from playing soccer unless, as the director-general of Soccer Quebec put it, they “play in their own backyard”.

… (turbans would be allowed) if they “play in their own backyard”

The Canadian Soccer Association turfed out the Quebec branch for the ruling, yet the real losers are the kids. As an example a big tournament this weekend would have seen 20 teams visiting from neighboring Ontario, however as Quebec is in the doghouse those kids can’t play here.  A lose-lose situation.

The Quebec Soccer Association needs to be part of the Canadian Soccer Association if it wants to compete with teams from across the country; a level playing field if you will. However it doesn’t want to be ruled by the CSA. Sort of like the Montreal Canadiens being part of the NHL, but enforcing a rule that visiting teams must not wear green. If you’re in, you’re in. Even a ruling handed down from soccer’s world governing body,FIFA, stating clearly that turbans and headscarves are welcome on soccer fields hasn’t caused the Quebec soccer administration to budge. In fact it has dug its heels in and claims only it can determine what will happen on the fields of Quebec.

If a solution can be found to the Legion and RCMP situations, surely a bunch of kids who want to play soccer can be accommodated

RCMPHowever Quebec isn’t alone in its view of Turbans. Not long ago the Royal Canadian Legion banned “headgear” in its halls. That was altered to mean hats; turbans, head scarves and yarmulkes are not hats. Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have adapted and have a turban version of their dress red uniform, as do the Ontario Provincial Police.

If a solution can be found to the Legion and RCMP situations, surely a bunch of kids who want to play soccer can be accommodated.

5 thoughts on “UPDATED Quebec: Turbines yes, Turbans no

  1. It was FIFA’s fault!

  2. As a former Montrealer (LaSalle) who moved away in 1983 due to the constant language issues (as well as the Winters) – more so the former as versus the latter – we never did agree with the situations that prevailed, and needless to say we have always had some “regrets” about leaving because there is NO other city like Montreal.
    In the case of this whole turban issue, I DO agree with the Province’s ruling. feel sorry for those who will not able to complete in country wide competition, but if these “turban” wearers and their kin cannot accept the “law of the land” they have an alternative… LEAVE…!!!
    The Quebec government has made a statement, and let’s face it – far too, too many concessions have been made to minority groups throughout the entire world.. T’is time to STOP..
    Countries have been sold down the drain.
    There are areas in Vancouver here, that when you “go through” them – you’re lucky if so see ONE Caucasian, and they make it known that this is THEIR community.. What ever happened to Canada…!!! ????..

  3. If a head covering is a natural and important part of your life because of your religion or traditions, it must be very hurtful, degrading, and embarrassing to have your community disapprove of you. Your post made me think about individual children who will give up sports because of the ban – that is a really awful thing to do to a kid! Very sad. Intolerance sets a terrible example for ALL children.

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