Singaporean Sikh referee subjected to racist abuse speaks out, calls for unity

Sukhbir Singh, the referee of the Inter-Chelsea match in Singapore embroiled in the racist abuse controversy, has called for unity within the football community after the racial attacks against him on social media.

Sukhbir Singh.
Sukhbir Singh. Photo Courtesy: Facebook

“I wouldn’t say I’m affected by it because I haven’t read the tweets, but that doesn’t mean I condone racism. It’s (racism in football) something that definitely needs to be looked into. There should not be any bias towards anyone’s race,” Singh was quoted as saying by The Strait Times.

Sukhbir had reportedly made some controversial decisions while officiating last Saturday’s International Champions Cup (ICC) match at the National Stadium in Singapore, where Inter Milan beat Chelsea 2-1. Singh awarded a penalty to Inter after striker Stevan Jovetic was brought down by Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, and the second was disallowing a late equaliser by Blues forward Michy Batshuayi. After the game, fans took to Twitter and cast aspersions on the referee’s ethnicity.

​Fifa match agent Baljit Rihal tagged anti-racism campaign ‘Kick It Out’ who said that it had “received reports from the public on the racist abuse on social media aimed towards Singaporean Sikh referee during Chelsea’s friendly against Inter Milan” and announced an investigation into the incident.

Singh has said everyone should be allowed to believe in what they believe in freely and participate in what they want to participate in, especially when it comes to sports. Sport is supposed to unite people and not divide us, he said.