• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Bhupinder Singh Gill, that the very first Indian-origin

ByJosh Taylor

Jan 6, 2023

Bhupinder Singh Gill, that the very first Indian-origin and Punjabi Sikh to officiate in an English Premier League match, hails from a family of referees.
Bhupinder Singh Gill, the first person of Indian descent and the first Punjabi Sikh to officiate in the EPL, is a natural referee.
Jarnail Singh Gill’s favourite recollection as an English Football League referee was officiating as a fourth official in a Premier League match in the 2000s. When Bhaichung Bhutia was a player for Bury FC, the 61-year-old officiated in the English Football League.
But he was more proud on Wednesday night, when his younger son Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first Indian-origin and Punjabi Sikh official to serve as an assistant referee in the English Premier League during the Southampton-Nottingham Forest game. The other assistant referee for the game at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton was Marc Perry, with Thomas Bramal in control in the middle.
“After the game, my wife Baljit Kaur advised me not to be too harsh of Bhupinder” (Laughs). It’s a really proud and emotional time for me as a father whose son goes on to achieve more than I could. Bhupinder’s wife Ramandeep and my grandson Harvin supported him throughout the game, and when it was over, seeing him get the referee’s award in an EPL game was the biggest takeaway for all of us. “I stroked Bhupinder’s back as a referee first, then as a dad,” the older Gill said from his home in Iver, near London, to The Indian Express.
Jarnail grew up in Wolverhampton, watching football clubs in his neighbourhood and then played for local clubs. He was born in Kokri Beniwal hamlet near Moga parents Gurcharan Singh Gill, a Malaysian native and naturalised British citizen. He began officiating at the age of 20 before graduating from Wolverhampton University with a mechanical engineering certificate. He eventually worked for the Heathrow Airport cab company and the Metropolitan Police.
“I was always interested with football as a kid. I was 20 when I took my first referee exam and played for the school team. Before getting married, I finished my education and started working at Heathrow Airport. There were debts to pay and a house mortgage to pay, so I took a five-year hiatus from recommending. “When I returned, my shift manager and airport authorities would change my working hours to allow me to officiate in weekend games,” the older Gill recalls.
“At home, there would always be football talk. Sunny and Bhupinder are both football enthusiasts. They both played football for different clubs. A back injury ended Bhupinder’s playing career. They were initially uninterested in officiating, but after serving as linesmen in some of my local league games, their curiosity developed. “I would always tell them to embrace the job as well as the importance of judgement and fitness in our profession,” Gill says.

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