Jarnail Singh (Sport)
Jarnail Singh began his refereeing journey in 1985 after having passed his football referee’s exam. He officiated matches in local leagues around Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. He continued onto the Conference South before being appointed as a Football League assistant referee in 1999.
Whilst still a Conference referee, Jarnail was put in charge of an FA Vase semi-final first leg tie, between Oadby Town and Brigg Town on 22 March 2003. He also took charge as referee at the Football Conference semi-final between Aldershot Town and Hereford United on 29 April 2004.
Jarnail was appointed as a Football League referee in the 2004/5 season. A momentous occasion indeed, as he was the first Sikh to hold such a position in professional league football.
During his career, he took charge of 58 games whilst in the Football League; 20 games in both The Championship and League One, 10 games in League Two, 5 League Cup matches and 2 FA Cup ties. He was a National list Assistant referee (linesman) for 5 years and spent 6 years as a National list referee.
The Oldham Athletic directors presented Jarnail with a signed match ball to mark his final outing as a referee in a match against Yeovil Town. Jarnail Singh retired as a Football League referee in the 2010/11 season after reaching the standard retirement age of 48.
Since retiring from active pitch duty, he has become a referee assessor as well as an FA Ambassador. He now actively promotes and encourages minority groups and individuals into football.
He is a fantastic role model for aspiring Asian referees, in fact, so much so that both his sons decided to follow in their father’s footsteps.
Jarnail Singh is testament to the fact that one can reach high levels within the world of football without compromising their religious or cultural values.
Jarnail Singh was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Asian Football Awards.