A boys soccer team from ISNA Private Islamic High School refused to finish a game on Tuesday because two females were on the opposing team during a Brampton tournament.
Robert F. Hall Catholic School, in Caledon, does not have a girls team so the two females played on the senior boys team, which was approved by the Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association (ROPSSAA).
During halftime, the ISNA Private Islamic High School team brought the concern to the referee. Robert F. Hall Catholic School school was winning the game 3–1 at that point.
Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, South Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association and ROPSSAA all have the same gender rule stating:
“If a sport activity is not available for a female on a girls’ team, she is eligible to participate on a boys’ team following a successful tryout.”
The girls on Robert F. Hall Catholic School team told CityNews they insisted on sitting out for the second half to allow the game to continue. The team went on to win 6-1 but both teams ended up advancing to the next round.
There is a chance the two teams could face each other again on Monday.
ROPSSAA said their rules are black and white.
But this is uncharted territory for the board so they are gathering their facts and will make a ruling on Friday about how to proceed.
Bruce Campbell of the Catholic School Board says they are disappointed and that they expect any team participating to know the rules.
“We were a little bit caught off guard because we assumed it was a senior boys league and exclusively for boys,” Essa Abdool-Karim. the coach of the ISNA High School soccer team, said.
“Free mixing is generally something we do not do, more so out of respect than anything,” he said.
Abdool-Karim said the team tried to have an open dialogue and explain to the other team that it is their belief.
“We want them to understand this balance between religion and having to sacrifice the sport you love is a difficult situation,” Abdool-Karim said.
If they face the same team again he doesn’t think they will play them.
“We want inclusion for all. We are trying to find a solution to a problem,” he said.