Jarnail Singh to Referee Sporting Khalsa vs Punjab United

Four days before the start of South Asian Heritage Month, trailblazer Jarnail Singh will officiate Sporting Khalsa vs Punjab United.

Jarnail Singh to Referee Sporting Khalsa vs Punjab United f

The aim is to showcase ethnically diverse talent

Jarnail Singh will referee Sporting Khalsa vs Punjab United, kicking off the South Asian Heritage Month celebrations early.

It is a pre-season friendly and the match takes place on July 14, 2023.

Both teams are owned by British South Asians and in addition to the match, there is a whole host of activities planned.

Jarnail Singh will lead an all-South Asian officiating crew, alongside Ajay Sharma and Genie Hayer.

The aim is to showcase ethnically diverse talent and highlight pathways into football.

Jarnail is the first turbaned referee in English Football League (EFL) history.

He refereed more than 150 matches across the divisions since 2004. He also previously acted as a fourth official in the Premier League. Jarnail retired in 2010.

Despite retiring from league officiating, Jarnail still officiates at the summer Khalsa Football Federation tournaments and occasionally referees in the Combined Counties League.

Discussions between Sporting Khalsa and Punjab United about playing a celebratory friendly advanced during an FA faith and football event.

The event saw a first-of-its-kind timeline and display documenting the history of South Asian heritage female players go on display at the home of English football.

Sporting Khalsa was founded in 1991 and plays in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division, which is in the eighth tier of English football.

Meanwhile, Punjab United play in the Premier Division of the Southern Counties East Football League.

They enjoyed a stellar end to the 2022/23 season by lifting the Kent Senior Trophy for the first time in their history.

The 2022/23 season was also a fairytale one for Jarnail as it began with his eldest son Sunny Singh Gill becoming the first league referee from a South Asian background to take charge of an EFL game since Jarnail himself more than a decade ago.

In January 2023, his youngest son Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first Sikh-Punjabi assistant referee in Premier League history.

He was an official for the match between Southampton and Nottingham Forest.

Before the match between Sporting Khalsa and Punjab United, a first-of-its-kind South Asians in Football Team of the Season will also go on show.

Supported by both clubs, the FA and Three Lions, Sky Sports’ Dev Trehan and Desi Ballers founder Zohaib Rashid picked a combined XI for the 2022/23 season.

But which players made it into the Team of the Season?

Safia Middleton-Patel: Manchester United (on loan at Coventry United & Blackburn Rovers)

Asmita Ale: Tottenham Hotspur
Easah Suliman: Vitoria Guimaraes (on loan at UD Vilafranquense)
Danny Batth: Sunderland
Mal Benning: Port Vale

Otis Khan: Grimsby Town FC
Hamza Choudhury: Leicester City (on loan at Watford FC)
Millie Chandarana: Blackburn Rovers

Yan Dhanda: Ross County
Mariam Mahmood: West Bromwich Albion
Kira Rai: Derby County

The Rest of the Squad
Rohan Luthra: Cardiff City
Sai Sachdev: Sheffield United
Aaron Drewe: QPR
Layla Banaras: Birmingham City Women
Ronan Maher: Walsall
Arjan Raikhy: Aston Villa
Zidane Iqbal: Manchester United
Aqsa Mushtaq: Lewes
Simran Jhamat: Coventry United
Dilan Markanday: Blackburn Rovers (on loan at Aberdeen)
Dillon De Silva: QPR (on loan at Torquay United)
Kiban Rai: Newport County
Nadia Khan: Doncaster Rovers Belles
Zahmena Malik: London Seaward
Adil Nabi: Athens Kallithea

Tickets will be available up until the 7:45 pm kick-off, with Sporting Khalsa expecting a bumper crowd at the Guardian Warehousing Arena for the match against Gravesend-based Punjab United.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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