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EuropeSpain – Sikh boy asked to remove turban-patka during a football match

Spain – Sikh boy asked to remove turban-patka during a football match

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Juan Sanchez Gil
Juan Sanchez Gil
Juan Sanchez Gil - at The European Times News - Mostly in the back lines. Reporting on corporate, social and governmental ethics issues in Europe and internationally, with emphasis on fundamental rights. Also giving voice to those not being listened to by the general media.

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In a press release from the worldwide organization UNITED SIKHS, it stated that they are “disheartened to learn that a 15-year-old Sikh soccer player was asked by the referee to remove his turban during a football match on February 4, 2023 in Spain. The young Sikh was playing in a game between Arratia C and the rival Padura de Arrigorriaga. The referee turned towards Gurpreet Singh in the first few minutes of the second half and ordered him to remove his turban. What happened next is a testament to the spirit of gamesmanship and a remarkable gesture of humanity. UNITED SIKHS learned that both the teams showed solidarity with their colleague by leaving the field in protest against the referee’s discriminatory and unfair ruling.” 

According to the statement shared by Manvinder Sigh, Director of Advocacy of United Sikhs, the referee’s action caused a painful and traumatic experience for the young Sikh. “Any conduct or action that targets a Sikh’s articles of faith, such as turban is discriminatory,” said Manvinder Singh. “Turban [patka] is an integral part of the Sikh faith. It is worn by approximately 27 million Sikhs around the world. Not only does it symbolize spiritual grace for Sikhs but it is also considered part of their identity and no Sikh is supposed to part with it,” he added.

The referee’s ruling was wrong. A FIFA panel known as the International Football Association Board issued a landmark decision in 2014, allowing turban to be worn during matches. This came in response to the Quebec Soccer Federation’s attempts to discriminate against and ban players who wore turbans.

Despite the FIFA decision, the problem still persists. This latest unfortunate event is a testament to the fact that more education and training on cultural sensitivity and anti-discrimination is needed. The FIFA ruling is a good start in order to making the playing fields free from discrimination and harassment for players of different countries and backgrounds.

The football-specialized outlet INFOCANCHA, has reported in an article written by Remigio Frisco that the president of the Aratea club, Pedro Ormazabal, explained: “He has been playing informally for at least five years, in his first year as a cadet and so far this season. We’ve never had a single problem. However, he added the other day that the situation was also “humiliating” for the youngster.

Ormazabal points out that:

“It was the first few minutes of the second half, and as soon as he came on, the referee turned to him and forced him to take off his turban. In front of everyone: all the families, the players… Something like that cannot be left to the interpretation of the referees, because what happened in Arigoriaca can happen”

UNITED SIKHS have voiced their intention to take this opportunity to for launching

“a call on the national sports federations and international organizations to prioritize the need for diversity training to ensure that officials at all levels are trained so that this doesn’t happen again in the world’s most-loved sport. We have also requested Spain’s Soccer Federation to take measures to disciplinary measures against the referee”.
“We have written to FIFA President Gianni Infantino and other organizations in this regard, and would keep the community abreast with the latest updates”.

hqdefault Spain – Sikh boy asked to remove turban-patka during a football match

Tags: #ICHRA#sikh#SikhIdentity#Turban #CivilRights#UNITEDSIKHS

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