Graham Poll

Graham Poll

Graham Poll is an English former football referee in the FA Premier League. With 26 years of experience, he was regarded as one of the most prominent referees in the Premiership, often taking charge of the highest profile games.

His final domestic game in a career spanning 1544 matches was the Championship play-off final on May 28, 2007 between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion.

As well as refereeing the 2005 UEFA Cup Final he was the English representative at 2 World Cups and UEFA Euro 2000.

He rose to prominence on the world football scene after his performance in the Croatia vs Australia match at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, due to what the BBC called “a series of errors”, most notably booking the same player three times before sending the player off. Poll retired from refereeing international tournament finals matches citing his error in the match.

He continued to referee in the Premiership, Champions League and on International Games, but said he would not allow himself to be nominated to represent the FA at any Tournament Finals as he felt he had had his chance.

Graham took up the whistle in 1980, progressing from the Isthmian League to become a Football League assistant referee in 1986. Five years later he became a full Football League referee, before being selected for the list of Premier League referees in 1993.

Having held a FIFA badge since 1996, he took charge of quite a few European matches, of which possibly his most important was the UEFA Cup final between CSKA Moscow and Sporting Lisbon in 2005.

He also took charge of many international matches, refereeing at top FIFA and UEFA tournaments such as Euro 2000, where Poll took charge of France versus Czech Republic, and Norway versus Slovenia in the group stages. He refereed his last ever Premiership match on May 13, 2007, between Portsmouth and Arsenal.

His last ever match, and his last in Europe, was to have been the Euro 2008 qualifying match between Finland and Belgium on June 6, 2007. However, some time prior to that match, he took part in an interview which appeared critical of the support referees receive from the FA in the face of criticism by team managers and coaches.

The match was overseen on the day by fellow English referee Mike Riley instead. In August 2007, Poll released his autobiography entitled “Seeing Red”, and now concentrates on media work, as a pundit for BBC Sport´s football coverage, and as a columnist with The Daily Mail, his feature entitled “The Official Line” appearing every Saturday.