Amidst Hinduphobia a 12 yr old Soccer player decided to choose his hindu religion over soccer match.
News by Sushant Singh, Published by NRI Herald; 01 September 2021
“I would rather keep following my religion than like break it…just for one soccer game.”- Shub Patel.
Shubh Patel, a 12-year-old Hindu soccer player from India, was sent off the field for wearing a sacred necklace made of basil wood beads (kanthi mala). The Toowong club member told Channel Seven News that removing the beads necklace is against Hinduism.
Shubh added that he’s worn the kanthi every other game this season.
A Kanthi, according to Shree Swaminarayan devotees, is a symbol of their surrender to the universe's creator, and it provides us the ultimate experience of connection with God. A Kanthi is made up of two lines of tulasi (basil) wood beads, one representing the soul and the other representing the supreme lord.
The holy necklace gives Shubh comfort and makes him feel safe, in addition to its religious and Ayurvedic importance.
Shubh stated to Seven News:
“If I take it off then at that time God would…like…feel that I have stopped believing in Him.”
However, the referee told Shubh as per rules – no beads or no game time.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) prohibits players from using or wearing harmful equipment or clothing.Necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, leather bands, rubber bands, and other types of jewellery are included.
Some parents also requested Shubh to take off his religious necklace but he politely refused to do so.
Shubh sat on the sidelines and watched the game as his teammates played.It was upsetting for the young Hindu boy as he has played fifteen matches wearing his religious necklace and not once he had been asked to take it off by either his coach or teammates.
Following a proposal from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), FIFA approved the use of Islamic head coverings during matches for religious reasons.
In addition, following a request from the Sikh community in Canada, this restriction was extended to Sikh male soccer players all over the world.
Football Queensland launched an investigation and has apologised to Shubh Patel’s family and Toowong Soccer Club.
In a statement Football Queensland said:
“Football remains the most welcoming and inclusive sport in Queensland, respectful and embracing of all cultures and religions.”
For now, Shubh Patel has been awarded special permission to play soccer while following his Hindu religious practice of wearing a religious necklace.