Gill set up the ladies team to offer opportunities for Sikh women to play sport, breaking down cultural and gender barriers to set up a team that has grown to become the UK’s largest Sikh women’s football club.
Gill’s efforts quickly attracted attention within the Sikh community and also the wider football world, alerting the UEFA Grassroots Awards, which has been run annually since 2010. The award encourages national associations from around Europe to put forward candidates in a number of categories, including those who initiate or start a club.
“I’m overwhelmed to be nominated for this award,” said Parm. “I really don’t know how I’ve done it! Obviously, the work I do for the club has been recognised, and I am just going to continue in the same way, let it grow as much as possible and go from strength to strength.
“I think it’s important to work with Sikh women, because basically, football is a ‘no-no’ [for them] in our culture; it’s just for boys or men.
“We have to educate the community first to bring in the Sikh women and the diverse community. I think it’s very important for the girls to have female role models to look up to.”
To celebrate the accolade, Parm attended an awards ceremony at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland to pick up her prize, which was presented to her by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.
“I would like to congratulate Parm Gill and Guru Nanak for their fantastic initiatives. They have worked tirelessly to give members of the Sikh community more chances to play football,” said Ceferin.
“Grassroots football is crucial to the well-being of sport and I want to ensure that UEFA continues to work closely with all our member associations to enable everyone to have the opportunity to play and enjoy the sport which we love.”
The criteria behind the Best Leader category won by Gill looks to find a person who actively works with a club and who has initiated, started or created a club.
As well as founding the club Gill also coaches and plays for the women’s team, and is officially the club’s welfare safeguarding officer. Along with the support of Natalie Curtis, an inclusion football development officer for the Kent FA, the pair have done fantastic work in creating a more equal game for all and fully deserve this accolade.