Referee Graham Poll bio

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From 1996 until 2007 Graham Poll was active at a number of international tournaments. Euro 2000, World Cup 2004 and World Cup 2006, the 2000 FA Cup final and in 2005 the UEFA Cup final. An enormous list of important matches, but he will be remembered, tragically, for one match only and what happened there in extra time.

the end? No
Three big tournaments and every time something went wrong. In 2000 when he was sent home after two matches, in 2002 he did only one match and was sent home because of an assistant who canceled two goals, and then there was the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Poll officiated three matches in the first round and then he was sent home for booking the same player three times.
After the debacle he announced that he was going to end his international career and focus on his own country. In an interview shortly after he admitted his mistake, but added (after all the rage and scorn of English newspapers) that nothing really bad had happened. That it was only a game. Still a week later it was announced all had been a mistake, Poll wasn't going to retire internationally. He was back in 2007, albeit in the UEFA cup.

Graham Poll stopped refereeing May 2007 and told why in an interview with the BBC and later in a book. Continuing bad press, a foul-mouthing Mourinho (Chelsea coach), players who lied about him in the press, abuse directed at him and his family from spectators and the lack of support by the FA made him come to the decision he had had enough.

the mistake
Poll writes that Josip Simunic, the man he yellow carded 3 times, was an Australian born Croat, who spoke with a broad Aussie accent. Poll accidentally wrote down the second caution (a C in his notebook) next to the Australian number 3.
Neither Poll nor his assistants nor the 4th referee (Kevin Stott), nor the 5th official (who has a monitor), noticed anything during the match. Poll says he doesn't blame them (he may a little bit...), he was the man responsible.
But we can. They should have noticed, that is what they are there for as well.
None of the Aussies noticed it either. The Croats did, of course, and one player later apologized to Poll.

In his own words
Because of events in the first leg, there was a lot of tension at the start of my match, so I was determined to keep on top of every incident. I also changed my normal positioning and kept much closer to play. Whenever I blew my whistle and the players looked around, I was never more than a few metres away. The pot never over boiled that night.

from: Graham Poll: Geoff Hurst, the hand of God and the biggest rows in world football

From our reporter: Archie Rogers