BBC Home
Explore the BBC
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
Poll position for Germany
By Owen Phillips

Graham Poll
Poll will be making his second appearance at a World Cup
World Cup referee Graham Poll will be one of a rare breed this summer - an Englishman who may benefit if the national team fail to make the latter stages in Germany.

Along with assistant referees Philip Sharp and Glenn Turner, Poll's chances of officiating in the World Cup final on 9 July will partly depend on whether England progress.

Of course, he will have to demonstrate he is capable of handling big-name players in the biggest of sporting occasions as well as getting all the crucial decisions right.

But the man who Poll answers to in domestic football believes the major obstacle could still prove to be an England success story.

Premier League referees' chief Keith Hackett has no doubt Poll, who oversaw one game at the 2002 tournament, has all the credentials to handle the final - should he be selected.

"It is the greatest honour bestowed on a referee to represent his country at the World Cup finals and he will be not be overawed by the occasion," Hackett told BBC Sport.

Graham is a very confident individual which people sometimes see as arrogance but it's not arrogance at all
Keith Hackett

"He has the ability and potential, if England fall out of the competition, to go all the way - certainly to go further than he did last time. I'm sure he will be setting his sights high.

"Refereeing is all about communication and Graham is an excellent communicator. He's very firm in his man-management and has developed a great rapport with players.

"He sees things before they happen and that means he can develop his positional sense and reading of the game and when to come in and when not to."

And Hackett says Poll is up to the task physically as well as mentally: "He's a fit cookie. He can comfortably cover 13,000 metres in a game with plenty of spare in the tank if it goes into additional time.

Poll's domestic highlights
Last FA Cup final at old Wembley: Chelsea v Aston Villa, May 2000
Worthington Cup final, Feb 2002: Blackburn v Tottenham
Championship play-off final, May 2004: Crystal Palace v West Ham

"Graham prepares thoroughly; he will watch videos of the teams he will be officiating; he will know the players he is officiating and will know how to deal with them.

"He has a natural ability to allow the game to flow and is a very confident individual which people sometimes see as arrogance but it's not arrogance at all - it gives him a strength of character.

"He has had some really high-profile games in the Premiership and also in Europe and other parts of the world - as a result his preparation could not be better."

Cup ref Poll ready for pressure
01 Jun 06 |  World Cup 2006
Refs to use new radio technology
23 May 06 |  Premiership
Fifa names referees for World Cup
20 May 06 |  World Cup 2006
Poll will officiate at World Cup
31 Mar 06 |  World Cup 2006
Referee file - Graham Poll
12 Aug 05 |  Premiership
Poll seeks World Cup appointment
14 Jan 05 |  Football
Croatia punish Italy
08 Jun 02 |  Italy v Croatia
Dallas and Poll make World Cup
07 Jan 02 |  World Cup 2002


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other Sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us