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Business News/ Sports / Football News/  English Premier League gets first referee of Indian descent: Meet Sunny Singh Gill

English Premier League gets first referee of Indian descent: Meet Sunny Singh Gill

Sunny Singh Gill makes history as the first British-Indian referee to officiate an EPL game, following his father's footsteps in football officiating.

On March 9, Sunny Singh Gill will become the first EPL referee of Indian descent (X/@sunnygillref)Premium
On March 9, Sunny Singh Gill will become the first EPL referee of Indian descent (X/@sunnygillref)

This weekend, Sunny Singh Gill will become the first referee of British Indian descent to lead an English Premier League (EPL) game. He’ll officiate the Crystal Palace vs Luton match on March 9.

Gill is also one of the few referees not in the main group of Premier League officials, called PGMOL's Select Group, to get this opportunity this season. He joins Sam Allison, Sam Barrott, Bobby Madley, Josh Smith, Rebecca Welch and Lewis Smith in this select list.

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This happens to be another milestone for the Gill family. Sunny’s father Jarnail Singh Gill was the first and only to referee 150 English league football matches wearing a turban. He was active from 2004 to 2010.

Sunny’s brother, Bhupinder, made history as the first Sikh-Punjabi Premier League assistant referee during a game between Southampton and Nottingham Forest in January 2023.

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“Football has always run in the family," Sunny Singh Gill told the English Football League in 2023. 

“Me and my brother grew up loving the game and, like most young kids, we just wanted to play but in our household, it was a bit different because when we were going to primary school, we knew our dad was going out to referee on a weekend. There were times he was a fourth official in the Premier League and our friends would say they saw him on ‘Match of the Day.’"

Sunny Singh Gill took charge of his first Sunday League match when he was 17. In 2021, he and Bhupinder became the first people of Indian descent to officiate in the same Championship match. The Championship is the tier below the Premier League.

‘A lot of hard work’

“A decade on from my dad refereeing in the EFL, I have achieved my dream and followed in his footsteps," Sunny told Sky Sports in October 2023.

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“It's been a lot of hard work training away from the pitch, improving in every department with the help of the [refereeing body] PGMOL and my coaches."

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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 06:59 AM IST
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