After Sikh Soccer Player Banned for Wearing Patka, Team Walks Off in Protest

September 4, 2005

Source: CANOE/CP

On September 4, 2005 the Canadian Press reported, "Parents and coaches of a Calgary junior soccer team are angry after a Sikh player was barred from a game for insisting on wearing his religious headscarf. Northwest United was competing in a tournament in this Vancouver suburb when a referee told 17-year-old Gurindar Durah could not wear his patka, a scarf young, religiously observant Sikhs are required to wear. Durah swore at the referee and was ejected from the game. Then his team decided to walk off in protest. 'Our tournament is done,' Northwest United coach Mario Moretti said. 'It was done the second he (the referee) said that. This is a decision our players made, not me. I supported my players. They all supported Gurindar, which was a no-brainer for us'... 'I am told by the referees here that this is a FIFA rule,' said Michael Smith, referring to soccer's international governing body... But Moretti said he discovered the federation has no such rule. 'I've been out to soccer for the last 10 or 12 years,' said Gurindar's father, Gurmit Durah. 'This is the first time my son was told he can't play, not because of his capabilities but because of what he was wearing.'"