Sikh Hunters, Sporting Khalsa, Guru Nanak FC are all Sikh founded football clubs that we have heard of, we give the founders of those clubs immense respect for giving the youth of today a route into football that was proving immensely difficult for most. But have you heard of Parm Gill? Yes Parm Gill?
Parm Gill, 51, is the founder Guru Nanak FC a women’s team, and this week the Guardian have taken an in-depth look at what Parm has done to change attitudes towards Sikh girls playing football.
Three years ago, Parm Gill mother of two boys in the Guru Nanak FC (Gravesend) youth teams asked her sons’ coaches to let her start a female section. They said, sure, if you can get the numbers. Gill set about approaching every woman and every mother she knew, and many she did not, persuading them to sign up for something that did not at that point exist.
You don’t see many Asian professional footballers and we’d like to help our children progress in that way
Roll forward three years and look at the impact that Parm Gill has made – 70 women and girls training, and playing, 70! Gill, meanwhile, has become something of a symbol; celebrated for her endeavours, she has been presented with awards by the Football Association at local and national level and, in September, she received Uefa’s Grassroots Gold Award for her work. “When you win an award like that you definitely think: ‘I’m doing something correct here,’” she says.
In part, Gill has been recognised because she opened football up to a new community, that of Sikh women and this provides the latest chapter in the remarkable history of Guru Nanak FC, a club founded in 1965, just a decade after a south Asian community began to grow in Gravesend.