The CRRF condemns the Quebec referee's head scarf decision
The referee's decision manifests ignorance of the fundamentals of tolerance and sportsmanship, and reflects the paranoiac atmosphere which seems to dominate some segments of Quebec society today. It is astounding that the referee has sought refuge in FIFA's rules, at a time that FIFA is moving forward to rid soccer matches from hooligans and racists, in particular following the 2005 events. Moreover, the Ontario Soccer Association expressed its disagreement with the Quebec's association about banning head scarves from the game. Unlike Quebec, Ontario soccer officials allow religious headgear, as long as it is secured, safely tucked.
The CRRF urges the Government of Quebec not to inflame the public debate about "reasonable accommodation". Premier Charest's statement that "one of the practices of soccer is not only the sport; but also how the players are expected to behave towards each other, and the rules around how they are dressed" demonstrates his lack of awareness that times have changed. The Premier's endorsement of the referee's decision makes us question the appropriateness of his comments and demonstrates a lack of leadership on the Government's part. It would be beneficial for all if the Quebec government did not comment further on this issue, as FIFA is the regulating body and is addressing this issue more thoroughly and objectively.
"The fact that the decision was made by a Muslim referee has no relevance", said Dr. Ayman Al-Yassini, Senior Executive Vice President of the CRRF. "It simply shows that ignorance and prejudice are not limited to any one individual or community", he added.
The CRRF congratulates the Greater Montreal Athletic Association, which organizes sports for English school board students in the Montreal area, for its objective comment that they fail to see "how a hijab would create a safety issue". Moreover, we note that the true sportsmanship was demonstrated not through the referee's decision, but by the support of Mansour's team mates and four other teams in withdrawing from the competition.