Chandigarh, February 4
In Spain, a Sikh boy was asked by a referee to remove his turban during a football match. The whole situation was "humiliating" for 15-year-old Gurpreet Singh.
The reason given to Gurpreet Singh from Arratia C team was that that wearing "a hat" is prohibited as per the game rules.
However, in all previous games, referees had allowed him to wear his turban.
A post by Sikhexpo on Instagram read: "15 year old Gurpreet Singh from Spain was told to remove his Patka during a football (soccer) match between Arratia C and a local rival Padura de Arrigorriaga. "The Arratia players interceded to explain that it is an element linked to his religion, with which he has always played. The referee insisted on his criteria. And both the players and the Arratia coach kept their pulse: they decided to leave the field of play as a sign of solidarity."
According to Lavan Guardia newspaper:
The referee justified his decision by alluding to the fact that the 15-year-old was wearing "a hat", and explained to the players that it is prohibited according to the regulations. Before this match, however, other referees have allowed the youngster to play and have avoided that interpretation.
This is how Pedro Ormazabal, president of Arratia, explains it: “He has been playing normally for at least five years, even in his first year as cadets and so far this season. We have never had the slightest problem. It has been something that has been carried out with absolute normality. The first year we warned that he played like that, and everyone understood it.
In the past day, however, the situation was even "humiliating" for the youngster. “It was the first minutes of the second half and, as soon as he left, the referee turned to him and urged him to take off his turban. In front of the whole world: of all the families, of the players... A matter like this cannot be left to the interpretation of the referees because what happened in Arrigorriaga could happen", indicates Ormazabal.
Fortunately for Gurpreet, his companions did not hesitate to side with him decisively. “The kids were the first to support him. The coach was also very clear. They decided to withdraw. Afterwards, he received the support of the rival team, especially through the coach, and from the families that had attended the game, ”adds the president of the Arratian club.
This Saturday, however, he returns to the competition. The Biscayan club is confident that the painful situation that occurred at the Padura facilities will not be repeated. And they are clear that they will not leave Gurpreet alone.”
According to a FIFA ruling, men football players can wear turbans during matches.
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