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Black referee Sam Allison and South Asian heritage official Sunny Singh Gill to preside over same EFL game | Football News

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The country’s highest-ranked Black referee will link up with the top referee from Britain’s South Asian community to preside over Swindon vs Leyton Orient on Easter Monday.

Sam Allison and Sunny Singh Gill will “break down barriers” when they officiate together in the League Two clash at the County Ground in another landmark moment for refereeing in English football.

Allison will take charge of the fixture between 11th-placed Swindon and 14th-placed Leyton Orient, with National League referee Singh Gill acting as the fourth official.

Singh Gill – son of the first turbaned referee to grace league football Jarnail Singh – told Sky Sports News: “It’s an absolute privilege to work with Sam for the first time for an EFL fixture. Sam is someone I am in regular contact with and try and learn from.

“Working with colleagues from diverse ethnic communities should be normal and not just a one-off but this is most definitely a step in the right direction.”

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Sam Allison, former footballer turned referee starring in the EFL is planning to be the next to referee in the top flight.

Allison said he is relishing the opportunity to work with a friend and fellow diverse match official on the same game in an EFL game.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Alisson told Sky Sports News.

“It’s always pleasure going out with your mates and especially when we’ve both had similar journeys and experiences.

“It’s going to be great supporting and learning from a fellow match official as we continue to break down barriers.”

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Sikh-Punjabi brothers Bhups and Sunny Singh Gill spoke to Sky Sports News live on the morning they made English Football League history when they become the first pair of British South Asians to officiate in the same Championship game

Allison is a firefighter and former semi-professional footballer, and became just the second Black referee in English Football League history – behind only Uriah Rennie – at the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

Last season, Sky Sports News revealed Sikh-Punjabi brothers Sunny Singh Gill and Bhups were making history as the first pair of match officials of British South Asian heritage ever to preside over a fixture in the Sky Bet Championship.

Both continue to progress as match officials in their own right, with father Jarnail Singh telling Sky Sports News in February that his sons are giving members of the community hope that they can make it in the game.

“As a parent, I’m very proud that the boys have followed in my footsteps and they are doing themselves and the community proud,” Jarnail told Sky Sports News.

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Sky Sports News presenter Tom White delivered the breaking news that Bhups and Sunny Singh Gill will become the first pair of British South Asians to officiate in the same Championship game

“I never say that they are doing well because it only takes one game and they are back to where they started in terms of merit positions.

“But I can see that they are more committed than ever because they both want to progress to the next level, so they really are giving it 110 per cent.

“Making history last season, of course, it naturally gave them a lift and more thirst for success – especially as it was covered so positively in the media. At the same time, both are laid back and they pretty much just take things in their stride.

“And if they do well, and hopefully take that next step, they can be in the spotlight a little more and go on to become even greater role models for our future generations of referees, players and coaches.”

Stats on South Asian players ‘don’t stack up’

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Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett tells Sky Sports News the South Asian voice is absolutely essential in football

Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett says ‘the stats don’t stack up’ when it comes to the representation of British South Asian footballers at elite level.

British South Asians are the largest single ethnic minority group in the country yet the community has been massively under-represented in the professional game for decades, with Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari describing it as the biggest statistical anomaly in football.

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Sanjay Bhandari told Sky Sports News at the turn ogf the year that action is needed to improve British South Asian representation in football

Speaking at the South Asian Football Network event at Leyton Orient, Burnett offered hope to those who want to see a more diverse and truly representative game by indicating the landscape around British South Asians in Football was about to “change significantly over the next few months”.

He added: “We don’t think there is a huge problem when it comes to participation at grassroots level. Where we have a problem and where we need to address the problem is that there are not enough [British South Asian players at elite level].

“And the reason for that is we have not focused enough on the talent pathways for South Asian players – male and female – getting through that pyramid, into the academies and into the professional setup.

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The first-ever Muslim member of the FA Council, Yunus Lunat, says British South Asians have been left behind across sports, and not just cricket

“It’s complex when you break it down so we need to look at things like scouting networks, who is doing the scouting? We’re not necessarily saying that only South Asian scouts can spot South Asian talent but we all know that representation reflects your own personal biases

“The other challenge is how talent is assessed and developed within the academy structure. That’s owned by the Premier League predominantly.

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Dave Rainford, Head of Education and Academy Player Care, praised the impact of the PFA’s Asian Inclusion Mentoring Scheme and said the Premier League will do more to try and help boost the number of British South Asians playing at elite level

“We’ve started to really look at with the Premier League what is going on in the academy structure. What is it in terms of the assessment, the nurturing, the development of South Asian talent that is going wrong because the stats don’t stack up in terms of grassroots representation through to the professional game, and we have to fix that.”

Leyton Orient player Otis Khan, FA Board member Rupinder Bains and West Ham academy link mentor Rashid Abba were among the speakers at the free event at the Breyer Group Stadium in the heart of east London, hosted by Paul Kirton from Grassroots Football UK, and Soccer Social LDN, in association with the Fans for Diversity campaign.

There was unprecedented demand to get into the event, with people travelling from across the length and the breadth of the country to learn more about British South Asians in Football.

South Asian Football Network event at Leyton Orient
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250 people attended with the event at Leyton Orient heavily oversubscribed

Brighton academy midfielder and England youth international Layth Gulzar, Brentford director Nity Raj and Derby County Women’s first-team coach Kiran Singh Savage were among those in the crowd, alongside Birmingham City Women’s academy full-back Layla Banaras, who was there with her family as guests of the Sky Sports and Sporting Equals partnership.

Sky Sports worked with Birmingham City to help support Banaras launch her Ramadan nutrition guide and meal planner ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month last year. The talented defender and her family brought updated versions of both the guide and the meal planner as gifts for to share with guests who attended the free event at Leyton Orient.

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Birmingham Women’s academy starlet Layla Banaras worked with her club to create a dedicated nutrition plan to help athletes fasting during Ramadan

Sky Sports News understands that football clubs across the country are now competing to host the next South Asian Football Network event.

Sky and Sporting Equals team up for British South Asians in football

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Sky Sports announced a partnership with Sporting Equals to support the charity’s ambition of inspiring more opportunities for British South Asians in football.

Sky Sports announced a partnership with Sporting Equals last month to support one of the charity’s ambitions of inspiring more opportunities for British South Asians in football.

The partnership stems from a shared desire to help tackle under-representation by addressing some of the barriers affecting the participation and progression of British South Asian football talent, particularly in the women’s game.

Active Lives survey data has consistently shown that South Asian women are the least physically active group in the country, and just 0.3 per cent of players in the top division of English women’s football, the FA Women’s Super League, hail from the British South Asian community.

Moving forward, Sky and Sporting Equals will work together to raise awareness and educate the public on this topic, collaborating with other stakeholders to create opportunities for talent to flourish, and supporting participation in the game.

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Bristol City Women’s forward Simran Jhamat is a ‘flagbearer’ for British South Asians who dream of making it in the game, says Charlton Women assistant Riteesh Mishra

Jonathan Licht, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports is proud to give a platform to help inspire more opportunities for the South Asian community to get involved in football.

“Collectively we are striving for greater equality in sport and, as Europe’s largest sports broadcaster, we’re well placed to highlight under-representation in the game and use our platforms to drive change in this space.

“Building on the excellent job Sky Sports News has done over the past year, the partnership with Sporting Equals is a step further in our commitment to ensuring all audiences feel represented by our content.”

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Arun Kang says the Sky Sports and Sporting Equals partnership is a fantastic opportunity for British South Asians in football.

Sporting Equals chief executive, Arun Kang OBE, said: “Sporting Equals is pleased to be partnering with Sky on this important work, which is a significant step towards engaging and celebrating South Asian communities in football, by removing outdated and negative stereotypes to inspire the next generation of players, coaches and football administrators.

“It is vital to highlight viable role models, which we will be doing through this project by showcasing football ambassadors, particularly South Asian females throughout community settings. With the support of Sky through this partnership we will seek to tackle these issues and demonstrate the true capabilities of South Asians in football.”

British South Asians in Football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.





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Pedro Porro speaks about Tottenham for first time as flight and medical booked

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I

ncoming signing Pedro Porro has spoken publicly for the first time about his move to Tottenham ahead of boarding a plane to London.

Standard Sport understands the right-back will complete a £39million move from Sporting later on Tuesday, the final day of the January transfer window.

The move was thrown into doubt on Monday after Sporting reneged on the deal by asking for more money, despite Porro having said his goodbyes and with a medical in London booked.

Further talks have revived the transfer and Porro, who was absent from training and understood to be distraught by the hold ups, will now finalise the move on Deadline Day. He spoke to reporters at Lisbon airport on Monday evening.

He told CMTV: “I’m grateful to Sporting, I love the club.

“I didn’t train as I was only focused on the transfer to Spurs but I will always be thankful to the club.”

Porro is expected at Hotspur Way on Monday evening, where he will stay overnight before becoming a Spurs player on Tuesday.



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Derby 0 – 2 West Ham

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West Ham booked a fifth-round FA Cup tie at boss David Moyes’ former club
Manchester United with a comfortable 2-0 win at Derby.

Jarrod Bowen’s third goal in two games gave the Hammers a first-half lead and Michail Antonio headed home their second five minutes after break.

The Londoners made it back-to-back wins after beating Everton 2-0 to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three nine days go and rarely needed to hit top gear as they halted League One side Derby’s 19-game unbeaten run.

West Ham's Michail Antonio, left, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English FA Cup 4th round soccer match between Derby County and West Ham at Pride Park stadium in Derby, England, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
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Michail Antonio also got on the scoresheet for the Hammers

West Ham boss Moyes now faces a reunion with former side Man Utd at Old Trafford in the last 16 after being drawn to face the Red Devils in the draw just before Monday night’s routine win at Pride Park. The match will take place in the week commencing February 27.

How West Ham eased past Derby

Paul Warne’s side are flying high in fourth place in the third tier and there were high hopes of an upset among the home faithful before kick-off in a Pride Park crowd of 25,308.

Derby forward Tom Barkhuizen wasted no time in breaching West Ham’s defence, scampering clear in the opening minute before his cut-back was scrambled clear.

Bowen shot tamely at Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith soon after, but was not so wasteful in the 10th minute.

Antonio’s ball over the top caught Derby flat-footed and Bowen volleyed home Tomas Soucek’s neat headed pass from six yards.

Derby’s best move of the half saw James Collins volley just off target after Barkhuizen had run on to Craig Forsyth’s dinked pass to pick out the Derby striker with a fine cross.

Barkhuizen and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing offered Derby’s best hopes of getting back on level terms before the break, but they had no shots on target in the first period.

The good news for Rams fans at the break was their side were still in the tie against a top-flight side who were not at their best.

But five minutes into the second period the home side fell 2-0 behind. Derby skipper Curtis Davies’ sliced clearance span into Bowen’s path down the right and his cross was headed in at the far post by Antonio after deflecting off Forsyth.

Warne sent on four substitutes – Eiran Cashin, Liam Thompson, Lewis Dobbin and Tony Springett – soon after and their fresh legs gave Derby a lift.

Haydon Roberts was an inch away from connecting fully with Dobbin’s excellent cross, but the Rams were soon back-pedalling again.

Bowen was denied in quick succession by Wildsmith’s point-blank save and Cashin’s last-ditch tackle before Ben Johnson’s angled drive was kept out by the Derby goalkeeper.

The Rams were full of endeavour until the final whistle and Dobbin was close to being rewarded for an impressive cameo display when shooting straight at Alphonse Areola, but on the night County could not bridge the gulf in class.

Bowen: You’ve got to beat the best to win the cup

Jarrod Bowen said “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best” after West Ham were drawn to face United in the fifth round.

“I found out (about the draw) on the bench. We’ve got Man Utd away so listen it’s never easy and if we want to be successful in these competitions we’ve got to beat the best teams,” Bowen told ITV Sport.

“With respect to Man United they’re a top top team but we’ve been there plenty of times before and you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”

Bowen added: “It was nice to score against Everton and tonight as well. I think the situation that we’re in, any sort of confidence from any player…

“The last two to be involved with was very good for me but I think for us, two wins on the bounce as well, two good results for us and it’s all about momentum in this game and I think we can use this going forward.”

Warne: We can’t knock the lads

Derby manager Paul Warne told ITV Sport: “In fairness West Ham played a professional performance, at times I thought we went toe-to-toe but I don’t think we did enough to score unfortunately.

“We can’t knock the lads tonight, we asked them to be the best versions of themselves against a Premier League team so not bad.

“But we probably didn’t have enough graft in the final third but I can’t really knock them and we know West Ham haven’t got an easy draw next but I wish them a sincere good luck.

“I thought the lads gave a good account of themselves at times and at times they were punching.”

What’s next?

Derby return to League One action on Saturday at home to Morecambe – kick-off 3pm – before travelling to Wycombe on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.

West Ham’s next game is away to Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.


Saturday 4th February 5:00pm


Kick off 5:30pm

The Hammers then host London rivals Chelsea on Saturday February 11; kick-off 12.30pm.



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NFL’s ratio of Black QBs to Black head coaches is all wrong

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Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts
Photo: AP

Marlin Briscoe is smiling in heaven. Doug Williams probably has a huge grin on his face. The first Black starting quarterback in NFL history — Briscoe — and the first Black quarterback to start and win Super Bowl MVP — Williams — are the giants whose shoulders Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are standing on. And between Rihanna’s halftime performance and the fact that we’re about to watch history made as two Black quarterbacks take center stage in sports’ biggest game — you could make the case that it’s destiny, given that it will all take place during Black History Month.

But, don’t let this moment distract you from the fact that Black coaches are still getting a raw deal at a time in which Black quarterbacks are being elevated like never before. Two things can be true at once, this is why this moment is such a joyous, yet infuriating one.

Sixteen years after we watched Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy make history as the first two Black head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl, we’re watching Mahomes and Hurts do it for Black quarterbacks. But since that February day in 2007, things for Black coaches have seemed to fall apart as they’ve improved for Black quarterbacks.

Eleven Black quarterbacks started Week 1. Now compare that to the three Black coaches who had jobs when the season began — Mike McDaniel doesn’t count, as he chooses to identify as a human being with a Black dad.

When Lovie Smith got fired in Houston, three became two. And as we wait for the remaining hires to be made, there isn’t a track record or feeling that anything will be done in the next few weeks to greatly improve these dismal numbers. We’re at a point in which the league, the owners, and fans are fine with having a Black man be their quarterback — but not their coach.

Over the years, the trajectory for Black quarterbacks has steadily risen in a way that hasn’t happened for Black coaches. By the time we reach kickoff, it will mean that eight Black quarterbacks have started in the Super Bowl. It’s a direct result of evolution over the years. What was started by Fritz Pollard, Briscoe, and Williams led the way for Michael Vick to be the first Black quarterback drafted No. 1 and for Steve McNair to be the first Black quarterback to win MVP — which was followed by Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.

Progress on the field, not on the sidelines

This type of progress isn’t something we’ve seen with Black coaches, though. At roughly this point last year, there were only two Black head coaches in the league — Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and David Culley in Houston. As we know, Culley would get fired after one season by the Texans and would get replaced by Smith, another Black coach that would be fired after a lone year on the job. Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit (which was joined by Ray Horton and Steve Wilks) is still hovering over the league. But, you wouldn’t know it the way that Wilks wasn’t able to keep his interim tag — which is a death sentence for Black coaches — with the Carolina Panthers despite doing a wonderful job.

In 2000, Dennis Green (Minnesota) and Dungy (Tampa) were the only two Black full-time head coaches in the NFL. Twenty-three years later, we’re in the same place, but worse. The XFL is just weeks away from rebooting and their eight-team league already has four Black head coaches. It’s a jarring stat that embodies just how big this problem is, despite what Todd Bowles thinks.

“I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well,” one of the two Black coaches in the league had the audacity to say earlier in the season.

In less than two weeks, a league that’s majority Black will make history when two Black quarterbacks play in a game that will feature entertainment before the game and during halftime from Black performers in a month that’s dedicated to recognizing the contributions to what Black people have made to this country. It will be a joyous occasion.

However, while you’re enjoying the game, I beg of you to ask one question to the company you’ll keep on that day. “If the NFL, America and the world can accept all this Blackness, then why won’t they accept Black coaches?” And while you’re waiting for people to answer that question, realize that “End Racism” was etched on the field all season. 





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