Kara Forcibly removed by Fatuous Referee

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. West Didsbury are now making a complaint about the referee's behaviour to officials of the Altrincham Youth League.

Sonny, who has been with the club for eight months and played many games without any problem with his bracelet, said: "I was disgusted, and now I feel absolutely gutted that I agreed to do what he asked."

The bracelet, known as a kara, is a symbolic steel bracelet worn as a symbol of commitment to truthfulness, strength and unity. "I told him again and again what it meant, but he insisted it could be dangerous," said Sonny. "It put me in an impossible situation. I couldn't let the team down by refusing. "Lots of professional players wear items of jewellery on the pitch including ear-rings that are taped over."

Danny Iredale, the manager of Sonny's team, said: "I was just astounded at what the ref was asking him to do. "The daft thing was that Sonny's gloves would have covered the bracelet anyway." Mr Lever did not want to discuss the incident.

Altrincham League secretary Fred Taylor said: "We will have to wait for an official complaint to be made by the club and then we would need to hear the facts from both sides."

Amrik Singh, a lay preacher and leading member of the Sikh community in Manchester said: "I'm shocked that something like could be allowed to happen. It is an important symbol of our religion and the bracelet would normally remain on the wrist for many years when someone reaches adulthood."

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