Sunny Singh Gill set to become first referee of Indian descent to control an EPL game

Mon, Mar 4, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Sunny Singh Gill set to become first referee of Indian descent to control an EPL game

LONDON (AP) - Sunny Singh Gill is set to become the first referee of Indian descent to take charge of an English Premier League game on Saturday.

The 39-year-old Singh Gill was on Monday appointed referee for Crystal Palace's game against Luton at Selhurst Park in London.

"He will become the first British South Asian to referee a match in the competition," the league said.

Singh Gill is following the lead set by his father, Jarnail Singh Gill, who remains the only English league football referee to have worn a turban. Jarnail Singh Gill was born in India and moved to England with his mother and sister when he was three. After taking charge of Bristol Rovers vs. Bury Town on Aug. 10, 2004, he went on to officiate nearly 200 matches across divisions until 2010.

Sunny Singh Gill's brother, Bhupinder, is also a referee.

The Premier League said Bhupinder Singh Gill was "the first Sikh-Punjabi to serve as a Premier League assistant referee" when he officiated during a game between Southampton and Nottingham Forest in January 2023.

"Football has always run in the family," Sunny Singh Gill told the English Football League website last year. "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, both 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.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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