Soccer Officials Should Learn Their Own Rules on Headgear

February 28, 2007

Source: Vancouver Sun

For the second time in less than than two years, the reputation of amateur soccer in Canada has been needlessly tarnished by referees, administrators and politicians who misunderstand the rules, yet expect players to follow their faulty directives anyway.

The latest debacle occurred in Quebec, when Asmahan Mansour, an 11-year-old Muslim girl, was expelled from a game -- ironically, by a Muslim referee -- for wearing a hijab, a religious head covering. In response, Mansour's coach, Louis Maneiro, pulled his team from the game in the Montreal suburb of Laval.

This incident is eerily similar to one that occurred in British Columbia in the fall of 2005, when seven games at the Langley Day Tournament were cancelled after a Sikh player was told to remove his head covering, known as a patka.

After that incident, the president of the B.C. Soccer Association and the chairman of the Langley tournament affirmed that there were no rules banning religious headgear and said the referee was mistaken in telling the Sikh player to remove his.