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  • Sikh goalie forced to take off kara

    by Sunny
    20th April, 2006 at 1:56 pm    

    A young Sikh footballer had to have his religious bracelet removed with wire-cutters before the referee would allow the game to go ahead. Sonny Singh, 18, who plays in goal for West Didsbury and Chorlton FC, was told by match official Les Lever that it could be a danger on the pitch.

    Sonny argued that it was an important symbol of his religion and hadn’t been off his wrist for seven years. He also pointed out that it would be covered by his goalkeeper’s gloves anyway. Sonny covered the bracelet with masking tape but the referee was unmoved and team-mates finally had to make a phone call to get someone to bring a set of wire-cutters to clip the metal band off. [Manc Evening News]

    I don’t know where I stand on this. It would hardly be sacreliege to take it off for 90 minutes, on the other hand it posed no danger while being fully covered.

    For the uninitiated, a kara is a steel bracelet - one of 5 Ks that baptised Sikhs are obliged to wear.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Civil liberties,Religion

    31 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. leon — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

      Hmmmm…not sure what I think either. It depends on the size of it really. I wear one but it really couldn’t cause that much damage (maybe a slight scratch!) in a game of footie. That said I’ve seen some that could easily knock someone out!

      Anyway, aint this quote rather dramatic:

      “removed with wire-cutters”

      ! I had this mental image of him being held down, struggle while they went at his Kara!

    2. Jay Singh — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

      It is not forbidden for him to remove it for ninety minutes. He could easily have done that. Problem solved. The idea that it is forbidden to remove the kara at all is wrong.

    3. Jay Singh — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

      Having said that, if the kara was taped down behind the gloves I don’t see what the problem is.

    4. Sparkz — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

      The ref was being an arse… if it was small enough to be covered with masking tape and had to be physically cut from the dude’s wrist, then I don’t see the problem. Professionals tape over their wedding rings and earrings during games, a kara isn’t that much different if its not going anywhere.

      If the kara didn’t have to be physically cut off his wrist, then yeah, remove it like you would a necklace or something, but to have to call someone out there to have to use a pair of wire cutters on it is excessive.

    5. raz — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

      Shia’s often wear a kara too. I’m wearing one right now :)

    6. Jay Singh — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:40 pm  


      In amongst the comments on the Manchester Evening News website attached to the article alongside the usual hysteria of ‘An insult and oppression to all Sikhs blah blah blah’ and ‘This country is being destroyed by Sikh goalies who come to our country like locusts’ is a comment about the referee being notorious for this kind of thing - over officiousness and all the rest if it. Just a bit of common sense prevents a trivial issue becoming a litmus paper test of ‘multiculturalism’ and where how we’re all going to hell in a handcart. I find these molehill eruptions so tedious.

    7. leon — on 20th April, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

      Well, like I say it’s an issue of whether it’s likely to cause damage or not. The size and styling (don’t some Kara’s come with little nicks in them?) is important.

      If it is something that can be easily taped over then the ref is out of order but if it’s one of them thick ones then yeah I can see the concern…

    8. Sparkz — on 20th April, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

      Jay I agree absolutely, one trivial incident, which is to put it colloquially, a referee being an arse, turns into a full on race war. Its absolutely tedious, especially when media outlets focus on the fact that it was a sikh wearing a kara as opposed to a referee who is known for this kind of ‘over-officiousness’ as you put it.

      You can quite easily simplify and de-focus the entire matter to a single referee who has a lack of common sense in dealing with what a kara is. Whether this is down to pettiness or a genuine fear of injury to another player is what should be being debated if anything over the matter, not the fact that the person involved was sikh or not.

    9. Katy Newton — on 20th April, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

      Vicious things, bracelets. I for one am glad to see that someone has finally had the guts to make a stand about the devastating effect of bracelet-related footballing injuries. That bracelet might have seriously maimed someone if the referee hadn’t acted.

    10. Jay Singh — on 20th April, 2006 at 3:19 pm  


      The kid plays in goal for this team - by all accounts the only Asian on the team, all the rest are white. So he’s played in goal with his kara safely hidden taped down behind his gloves millions of times and there has never been a problem. Nice example of an integrated community, nice example of an Asian playing football, Indian guy playing with white kids, great.

      One thing happens and it becomes an example of how England is being destroyed by Asians or how Sikhi is being oppressed. People got no perspective. People dont think. Everything comes to the surface with the hysteria. We get distracted by peripheral issues. What a joke.

    11. mellow — on 20th April, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

      I think this was more of a reflection on the ref than anything else.
      Dude couldnt take the thing off since it was clearly too tight to be removed, but since he has been playing for a good long time without any issues this was a case of a ref being an arse. As previously mentioned the ref is notorious for being a pain.
      An example was sending someone off for entering the pitch over the halfway line !
      He should be scrubbed from the ref roster just for being a dick head.

      I remember having to have my kara removed with a hacksaw when I was about 7, cos the swimming instructor at the pool wouldnt let me in with it. Given it was a thin little thing without any potential for harm it was def over the top. Nowadays something like that would have resulted in a law suit, but back then we didnt make waves.

    12. Robert — on 20th April, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

      I used to be a ref, back in the ’7.

      Players with ear-rings would have to tape them up before being allowed to play. The same should have been the case for the goalie with the Kara, although he may have needed something thicker than a bit of sticking plaster.

      So yeah, it seems like a bit of a waste of time… However, what if the headlines had been:

      “Striker had 20 stitches after Sikh Goalkeeper Clash!”

    13. Sunny — on 20th April, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

      True Robert, though in fairness to my namesake, he had masking tape on as well as covering it with gloves. Saying that, if they needed wirecutters to remove the thing because he couldn’t physically take it off, then I think its over the top.

      Saying that, I’ve never understood the need to have a huge, heavy kara that literally drags your arm down. My brother had one so heavy that I’m sure his right arm became stronger than the left just because of that :|

      Personally, I can’t have any form of jewellery on me, not even a steel watch. It just feels really wierd.

    14. Kiran — on 20th April, 2006 at 5:39 pm  

      I know some blokes who wear a massive kara just coz it looks trendy and they say it gives them status!!
      I think it’s just taking it too far when blokes wear massive karas to show off as it is these karas that end up being a weapon in a fight.

    15. Don — on 20th April, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

      The lad is 18, he’s worn the kara since he was 11and needed wire-cutters to get it off. So he was willing to remove it, just not able. So the ref is a jobsworth.

    16. El Cid — on 20th April, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

      He does sound like a jobsworth.
      But on the other hand maybe he’s not.
      If he was simply enforcing the laws of the game, then he did so with good reason. He would have been liable to disciplinary action — and who knows, potentially legal problems — if an injury had resulted from the item.
      You may recall seeing taped up wedding rings on televised games in the past, but I don’t think that is allowed any more. The FA’s law on this matter is pretty categorical — and the FA governs footy at most levels.
      And I quote:
      “A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).”
      You may mock, but football is a contact sport and if you get clattered somewhere and that area swells up and runs against a foreign and rigid object such as a ring or bracelet, you could have problems because you’re gonna restrict the blood supply.
      It happened to me once. I was playing footy — well I was in goal on this occasion. And the ball hit my wedding ring finger square on, jarring my knuckle. I tried to play on but as my finger swelled, the pain grew worse. After a while it was quite clear that no blood was getting through to the end of my fingers and I rushed to hospital. It’s not a pretty sight seeing a big man faint, but I only just managed to hold my own as they got to work with the wirecutters. So there you are.
      Apparently it’s a common sports and punchup-related injury, so the nurse told me.
      The moral of the story, I guess, is that some of you need to move from behind your computers and get out more. I jest :)

    17. Don — on 20th April, 2006 at 6:25 pm  

      Fair point, El Cid.

    18. Katy Newton — on 20th April, 2006 at 6:35 pm  

      In all seriousness, this is a story about health and safety (gone mad or not? discuss) and not about discrimination, which I think was Sunny’s point in the first place.

    19. Bikhair — on 20th April, 2006 at 7:27 pm  

      Why dont these Sihks just assimilate?

    20. Jay Singh — on 20th April, 2006 at 7:32 pm  

      ARSON Attack on Wolverhampton Sikh Gurdwara.
      Local priests in narrow escape

      20th April 2006

      Bilston, West Midlands - Three Sikh Priests were led to safety last night following an arson attempt on a Sikh Gurdwara in Bilston.

      The emergency services were called out just before 0100 BST to put out fires started using two large bins placed in front of the two doors of the Temple.

      Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Arthur Street is close to Bilston town centre and was attacked in what is thought to have been a racially motivated act of violence. Local residents are reported to have seen three youths running away from the Gurdwara and alerted the fire crew accordingly. The prompt response of the residents played a large part in saving the lives of the three men.

      Two fires were started at separate parts of the Temple. The main worship room was saved from the fire by the aluminum shutters in place in front of the main entrance of the Gurdwara itself. The second fire burned through a side door where it spread into the communal kitchens and onto the second floor on which the priests sleeping quarters are situated.

      Initial estimates place the cost of damages caused by the attack at around £20,000.

      The three priests were treated for smoke inhalation and shock. Two of the priests have spoken to local residents about the trauma caused to them as a result of the arson attack. Gianni (Priest) Manohar Singh explained that although there have been incidents of racial abuse in the past, nothing was as severe as this attack, “We have received verbal and physical abuse from youths before but nothing of this level…I don’t understand what we have done to deserve this. How will be sleep at night now?”

      The second Priest, Gianni Tirath Singh feared for his life after he awoke to the fire burning throughout the Gurdwara. While speaking with local residents he exclaimed : “I could see nothing but smoke around me, I couldn’t breathe and thought that this is it, we were going to die for sure.”

      West Midlands Police are treating the crime as a suspected arson attack and appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information they may have by ringing Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

      Since 9/11 and the recent London bombings there has been an increased number of attacks on the local Sikh community in the area. Community leaders and multi faith networks are aware of the situation and are providing their full support. The community is devastated by the recent incident.


    21. Vladimir — on 20th April, 2006 at 8:40 pm  

      On a side note to this particular issue, I know of Sikhs who wear Kara’s as a fashion accessory, or will have sharp grooves in the bracelet thus enabling it to be used as a weapon much like a knuckle duster, and they do not follow the other four K’s either!

      I do think that the referee is going a bit over the top though.

    22. Sajn — on 20th April, 2006 at 10:51 pm  

      I blame UEFA.

    23. Sunny — on 20th April, 2006 at 10:52 pm  

      I blame multi-culturalism!! (I’m just pre-empting j0nz :) )

    24. douglas — on 22nd April, 2006 at 6:35 am  


      There is an interesting point here. Your namesake agreed to have the kara removed, in order not to let down his team. I find that admirable. It also suggests that for him at least religion is not the be all and end all.

      Jay Singh,

      ‘This country is being destroyed by Sikh goalies who come to our country like locusts’

      Bloody funny. We are all mad I tell you!

    25. Lover, not figher — on 23rd April, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

      The imporant question is …

      Did his team win the game?

    26. peter — on 29th April, 2006 at 1:39 pm  


    27. peter — on 29th April, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

      balme ur self sunny! y would u blame multi culturalisim id**** s******

    28. peter — on 29th April, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

      i agree with u valdimir he is going over the top i for one call it racisim tat bi**** is such a friggen arse eh?
      p.s sry sunny for that comment :(

    29. Sunny — on 29th April, 2006 at 5:42 pm  

      Dude - learn some English before you start posting. Please. Otherwise don’t embrass yourself.

    30. Rohin — on 29th April, 2006 at 6:05 pm  

      “Don’t embrass yourself?”


    31. peter — on 15th May, 2006 at 9:48 pm  

      well at least i go to school and learn english sunny! what you think i goto esl or something????

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