Quebec Soccer Federation maintains turban ban, calls for talks

The Canada Soccer logo. (Handout)

The Canada Soccer logo. (Handout)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

MONTREAL - The Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) says it's maintaining its turban ban but wants to negotiate an end to the dispute.

The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) ripped away the Quebec federation's sanctioning power on Monday after the Quebec body banned turbans because of alleged safety concerns.

The ban drew the ire of federal politicians and even the owner of Montreal's Major League Soccer franchise.

The provincial body held an emergency meeting Tuesday evening but decided to maintain the ban. In a statement, the federation said it hopes to speak with CSA officials for "the fastest possible resolution to this impasse," adding that it would have no further comment.

Meanwhile, Quebec's sports minister says the Quebec federation's decertification could have effects across the country. Marie Malavoy said the federal body "acted in the worst way" and could jeopardize the Canada Games soccer tournament that gets underway Aug. 3.

"There are plenty of young people who are preparing to go and suddenly they're told, it won't be for you," she said. "I think young people who are soccer lovers are caught in a controversy."

The federal government blames the Quebec federation for barring observant Sikhs from the pitch.

The Ottawa-based World Sikh Organization of Canada also argues the spat could affect non-Sikh players.

"This entire episode has been completely unnecessary and senseless," said president Prem Singh Vinning, who hasn't ruled out a lawsuit against the Quebec federation.

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