Quebec teen told she cannot referee and wear her hijab

News Agencies – June 21, 2011

A Quebec teen has been told she can no longer referee soccer while wearing her hijab. Sarah Benkirane, 15, said her Montreal-area soccer association informed her she could no longer referee games wearing her traditional Muslim headscarf after someone filed a complaint with the league. Benkirane said she’s contacted the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations and plans to put pressure on the Canadian Soccer Association to force Quebec’s governing soccer body to overturn its decision.
The president of the Quebec Soccer Federation told reporters it is simply applying FIFA’s international rules, which stipulate referees and players may not wear religious symbols on the pitch. In 2007, an 11-year-old Ottawa girl was ejected from a soccer game in Laval after she refused to remove her hijab, which violated FIFA’s no-headgear rule.