Following a news story about a Sikh amateur footballer being stopped from playing football due to the wearing of a patka (see full story here), Sikh PA share the following statement from the Panjab F.A.
“In 2017 it is extremely disappointing to know that a qualified referee could think a religious head covering is a reason to bar someone from playing football.
“This kind of ignorance is neither in accordance with FIFA regulations, which approved the wearing of religious headwear in 2014, nor is it in accordance with British law and values. It is ridiculous to think someone could think a dastaar (Sikh turban) or a patka (Sikh head covering) or anyone with outwardly sporting a religious identity, could be seen as a danger to anyone on a football pitch and would be denied the right to participate in the beautiful game we have all come to love.
“We commend Nirvana FC for their stance on the situation. There is often discussion about why there are so few British-Asians in the game of professional football, and this incident highlights one obstacle that Sikhs and all people of religious identity can face. Sikhs play football at a variety of levels across the world with their heads covered and will continue to do so.
“We at Panjab FA are making inroads to highlight British-Asian talent in football and we will continue to demonstrate that religion/faith in ones’s belief is no barrier to playing. We will support all people to further improve inclusion and diversity in the game.
“We hope the F.A quickly address the situation to ensure nothing like this happens again.”
Harpreet Singh, Founder & Chairman of Panjab F.A.
The Panjab FA (Panjab Football association) represents Panjab of both India and Pakistan and the Panjabi community worldwide.
The key objective of the association is to establish the first ever national football team for men and women of Panjabi origin. In 2016 the Panjab national team were runners-up in the Conifa World Cup, losing to host nation Abkhazia in the final. For more information on the Panjab FA, see here.