Bhupinder Gill becomes first Sikh-Punjabi assistant referee
January 12, 2023
A teacher at Chiswick School has made history by becoming the first Sikh-Punjabi to act as an assistant referee in the Premier League.
He ran the line in the fixture between Southampton host Nottingham Forest on Wednesday 4 January.
37-year-old Bhupinder Gill is a Head of Year at the school and a member of the PE department.
He started his journey refereeing at the age of 14 following in his father Jarnail’s footsteps. He took charge of more than 150 English Football League matches between 2004 and 2010
He said, “My dad was the first turban wearing referee in the Football League and he was an inspiration to many, including me and my brother, who is also a referee in the Football League.”
His elder brother Sunny is also a high-ranked referee and has taken charge of fixtures in the lower divisions.
Bhupinder moved up the ranks to become a specialist assistant referee, completing two years as a Football League assistant referee before being promoted to Select Group 2 (Championship).
He added, “I feel very proud to be the first Sikh-Punjabi to officiate in the Premier League and the messages of support have been overwhelming. I really just want to inspire the next generation and be a role model like my dad was to me.
“My role at Chiswick School has helped me in my officiating as you need the ability to communicate effectively with players, in a similar way to students and parents. You also need to be able to manage players on the pitch and talk in a manner that gains their respect and vice versa; this is the same when talking to students.”
Headteacher Laura Ellener said, “Diversity and inclusion are very important at Chiswick School, as is being ambitious and achieving amazing things. Mr Gill embodies this and we love watching him on TV and seeing him excel in the exciting world of football. It is amazing that our students have access to teachers who are experts and role models and this is why they thrive academically and out of the classroom.”
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