Sunny Singh Gill will follow in father Jarnail Singh’s footsteps after earning promotion to the EFL National Group of match referees.
Jarnail Singh is the first turbaned referee in the history of English league football and took charge of more than 150 games across the divisions between 2004 and 2010. Jarnail retired from league officiating in 2011 and now advises the Football Association but still occasionally referees in the Combined Counties League.
Sunny is the most senior referee of British South Asian heritage in the country and joined the highest-ranked Black referee Sam Alisson to preside over the League Two game between Swindon Town and Leyton Orient in April in a landmark moment for officiating in English football.
Singh Gill: Dream to follow in dad’s footsteps
Sunny, who is a prison officer at HMP Feltham and started refereeing at 15, told Sky Sports News: “It is a proud moment for me to be promoted to the EFL.
“To follow in my father’s footsteps and become the next South Asian, and Sikh-Punjabi, to be promoted as an EFL referee is a proud moment. A decade on from my dad refereeing in the EFL, I have achieved my dream and followed in his footsteps.
“It’s been a lot of hard work this year training away from the pitch, improving in every department with the help of the PGMOL and my coaches.
“I now want to set more goals and fulfil my dream of becoming the first South Asian Premier League referee.”
Last season, Sky Sports News revealed Jarnail’s sons Bhups and Sunny Singh Gill were making history as the first pair of British South Asians ever to preside over a fixture in the Sky Bet Championship.
Jarnail told Sky Sports News back in February that his boys are giving it “110 per cent” to get to the very top of the game, and Sunny has now been rewarded with promotion from the National League.
Webb: Bhups and Sunny have excelled
Former Premier League match official Howard Webb, who refereed the 2010 World Cup final, told Sky Sports News last year that Sunny and Bhups have all the attributes required to reach the very top of their profession.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to see the progress that Sunny and Bhups have made in the game. I’ve had my eye on them for quite some time,” said Webb, who has been managing VAR in Major League Soccer for the past four years.
“I go back with their dad for quite some time, we worked in the Football League together. And Jarnail Singh, in addition to being a really, really good referee, is just a wonderful guy. He was always a pleasure to work with.
“They [Bhups and Sunny] are athletic, they know how to manage people, all these skills that you need to be successful. If you don’t have them, you don’t survive in the professional game. These guys have done more than survive, they’ve excelled and I think will continue to do so.
“Both have gone through those hard yards of local football and then progressing through the different levels and probably feeling like at some point they want to pack in because it’s not been an easy day at the office but they’ve persevered through those difficult times.
“I know their father will be so proud to see them on the same game. They’ve made good progress and they’re still on the upward trajectory. There’s still more for them to achieve. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it every step of the way.”
British South Asians in Football
For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.
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