Trailblazer Bhupinder Singh Gill will become the first British South Asian assistant referee in Premier League history, Sky Sports News can exclusively reveal.
Singh Gill, who has been officiating since he was a teenager, will make his Premier League debut at St Mary’s when Southampton host Nottingham Forest on Wednesday January 4.
Thomas Bramall will be the man in the middle for the fixture, and Marc Perry acts as assistant referee alongside Singh Gill. John Brooks is the fourth official and Lee Mason is the match VAR, with Darren Cann the assistant VAR.
Bhupinder is a PE teacher and the youngest son of the first turbaned referee in English Football League history, Jarnail Singh. Jarnail refereed more than 150 matches across the divisions between 2004 and 2010, and has previously acted as a fourth official in the Premier League.
In the summer, Sky Sports News exclusively revealed that Bhupinder’s brother Sunny would follow in his father’s footsteps and become the first British South Asian to referee an English Football League game since his dad more than a decade ago.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News in April last year, 2010 World Cup final referee Howard Webb tipped the brothers to go right to the top.
“I think both Sunny and Bhups need to be aiming for the Premier League and then beyond that the FIFA international panel,” Webb told Sky Sports News.
“It’s not going to happen to everybody, but is going to happen to some and why shouldn’t it happen to these guys?
“They’ve already shown that they’re talented. And I’m sure they’ll keep working at the game. They’ll keep taking advice from people like their father. If I can help with a little nugget here and there, around my experience then I’m delighted to do so.
“Who knows where that potential will take them. But I’ve got no reason to think that they won’t be with a good shout of the next step. And that’s where we all, I guess, dream to be. That’s within the Premier League.”
Singh Johal makes home Wigan debut
News of Bhupinder’s appointment for a Premier League game comes a day after fellow Sikh-Punjabi trailblazer Ashvir Singh Johal made his home debut as Wigan’s first-team coach in Monday night’s clash with Sheffield United.
Singh Johal followed Kolo Toure to Wigan from Leicester where the pair had been working under Brendan Rodgers.
“It’s been a real education to be around Brendan for the last few years,” Singh Johal told Sky Sports News.
“Brendan Rodgers is a top, top manager, he’s someone who is a great role model for young coaches working in the game now. He’s very, very organised, very detailed and he’s a very good people-person, so his relationships with players and with staff [are excellent].
“He’s very organised, and to see that level of detail at the highest level of the game is [mainly] what I took off him over the last few years.”
Singh Johal is a product of hometown club GNG Leicester, who are linked to one of the city’s, and the country’s, most famous Sikh temples, Guru Nanak Gurdwara.
The Wigan first-team coach wears a traditional Sikh head covering called a patka and is relishing the opportunity to inspire South Asian and Sikh-Punjabi children, who aspire towards a career in the game.
“I’m a Sikh, so my principles, the way I live my life, I follow a certain set of principles from the Sikh religion and that will not change whether I’m in football or not.
“Whether I’m in training sessions [or] in the dugout on a matchday, that’s who I am, that’s how I am and I think if that visibility provides inspiration to somebody watching then that can only be a positive thing.”
British South Asians in Football
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