Premier League history was made at Southampton on Wednesday, January 4 when Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first Sikh-Punjabi to serve as an assistant referee.
Singh Gill, who ran the line in Nottingham Forest’s win at St Mary’s Stadium, now hopes to inspire young and aspiring Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) referees to follow in his footsteps.
“Hopefully, this is another moment to help inspire the next generation to sign up to a refereeing course and get into officiating,” he said.
“My dream has always been to reach the top of the game, be a role model for future officials and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds into officiating, especially from a South Asian background just like me.”
Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer of Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, said Singh Gill’s progress from the EFL to Premier League is a positive reflection of the opportunities available to those from diverse backgrounds.
“Bhupinder’s appointment to the Premier League and the best league in the world will show an even greater audience about what’s possible for people from different backgrounds,” Webb told Sky Sports News.
“It will give other British [South] Asian boys and girls an opportunity to see somebody who looks like them doing something that they thought wasn’t possible for them previously.”
Singh Gill first qualified as a referee aged 14 and is the son of the first English league football referee to wear a turban, Jarnail Singh, who officiated more than 150 EFL matches between 2004 and 2010.
“For the Sikh community and all South Asians who dream of a career in the game, seeing Bhupinder officiate in the Premier League is absolutely massive,” added Singh Snr.
“As a father, you can imagine I am very proud to see Bhupinder in the Premier League.”
🗣️ “Its recognition for him as an individual” ✨
Referees’ chief Howard Webb says Bhupinder Singh Gill deserves his opportunity as he prepares to become the first Sikh-Punjabi assistant referee in Premier League history tomorrow 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/rLA6a3IXpl
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 3, 2023