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Ex-referee Graham Poll wants more Premier League refs


Referees not protected enough - Poll

Former referee Graham Poll has warned that the number of referees officiating in the Premier League is "not healthy".

Poll believes new referees boss Mike Riley must add to the 16 officials currently operating in the top flight.

"There aren't enough referees," Poll told BBC One. "Refereeing a team seven or eight times a season is not healthy.

"The first thing Mike Riley needs to do is look lower down the national list and promote more people up to be a Premier League referee."

Riley succeeded the retiring Keith Hackett as general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) on 1 January and started work on Monday.

The 44-year-old Riley has had six months to prepare for the role after he was named successor to Hackett, 65, on 26 June 2009.

Riley spent 20 years as a referee, taking charge of Premier League matches for 13 years and officiating at Euro 2004, before retiring at the end of the 2008-09 season.

He should be familiar with many of the issues that lie ahead having been involved in a number of controversial situations as an official.


And Poll has highlighted respect and protection for referees as a key area for improvement.

"They are certainly not protected enough," said the 46-year-old, who refereed at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, as well as the 2000 FA Cup final and 2005 Uefa Cup final.

"The respect campaign was something that was brought in at the start of last season to help them with that. I think the focus has come off that and we're seeing more and more dissent from players on the pitch.

"An early job for Mike Riley will be to talk to the FA to really reinvigorate the Respect programme."

Poll is also of the opinion that referees need to be stronger which, he feels, is difficult given the PGMO's relationship with the Premier League.

"It's strength that's required from referees. That's what gets respect - strength - and we're not seeing referees being strong enough," added Poll.

"One of the reasons for that is that Mike Riley reports into a board which is basically run by the Premier League. So it's the clubs themselves who are dictating policy as opposed to the laws of the game."

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see also
Hefty ban for Sunderland's Turner
22 Dec 09 |  Sunderland
Referees' boss wants Ferguson ban
12 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Allardyce hits out at ref Walton
05 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Martinez unhappy at Probert role
30 Aug 09 |  Wigan
Wenger to get sending off apology
30 Aug 09 |  Premier League
FA to look into Ferguson remarks
17 Sep 08 |  Man Utd
Riley lands referees chief role
26 Jun 09 |  Premier League
FA defends Riley Cup appointment
16 Apr 09 |  Everton
FA launches respect the ref campaign!
05 Aug 08 |  Football
Terry backs referee respect plans
23 Mar 08 |  Football
Ferguson urges referees respect
22 Mar 08 |  Football
Riley picked for Euro 2004
04 Dec 03 |  Internationals

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