UK: Muslim and Sikh boxers fight to overturn beard ban

UK: Muslim and Sikh boxers fight to overturn beard ban

Muslim and Sikh groups are challenging a ruling which bans amateur boxers from the ring if they have a beard.

The Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) recently ruled that all fighters had to be clean shaven to allow cuts to the face to be seen.

It came after Mohammed Patel, a 25-year-old bearded Muslim boxer from Bolton, was stopped from competing last January.

At the time, ABAE rules stated only Sikh fighters were exempt, so the Bolton Council of Mosques challenged the ABAE on Mr Patel's behalf.

But the ABAE then ruled all competitors had to be clean shaven, a decision both Muslim and Sikh groups want reversed, particularly as professional fighters have been allowed facial hair for more than 20 years.

Inayat Omarji, Children and Young People's manager at Bolton Council of Mosques, told BBC Asian Network he is fighting on behalf of Mr Patel, who has been left disheartened by the row.


But the ABAE's national child protection and equity manager, Barry Jones, said the rule was there to protect boxers.

"The ruling has come from our international governing body - the International Amateur Boxing Association. It has nothing to do with race, only health and safety.

"Our medical commission have deemed that facial hair can cause abrasions to opponents faces... and most importantly doctors say clean shaven athletes allow them to see cuts during the fight.

"Cuts aren't allowed in amateur, Olympic-style, boxing. We are completely different to the professional circuit."

Mr Jones conceded the previous ruling, that Sikh boxers were the exception to the rule, had been a mistake.


Source: BBC (English)

No comments: