This is one call that will take a while to referee. Sikh and Muslim groups are fighting the British Amateur Boxing Association’s recent ruling that all participants in the ring have to be clean-shaven. The rationale is that cuts to the face can be easily seen. Professional boxers, though, have been allowed facial hair for more than 20 years.
Sikhs had been exempt from the ABAE rule till last year. But this changed after Mohammed Patel, a boxer from Bolton in Lancashire, was stopped from competing last January and the Bolton Council of Mosques challenged the move. Now, the ABAE has banned all participants with facial hair from the ring. Indarjit Singh of the Network of Sikh Organizations has been quoted as saying, “I was astounded that they should make a ruling that is so insensitive...”